A Wage Employment Program That Makes a Lasting Difference

By Beverly Goldberg


Rosario, a refugee who received support through the Wage Employment Program, talks with Angie Solorzano, the Economic Inclusion Coordinator for HIAS Costa Rica, February 26, 2024. (Mayela López for HIAS)

Rosario* couldn’t be happier with her current life in Costa Rica.

“I’m very grateful to Costa Rica. I love the country, the weather and the people,” she said. “Costa Rica really changed everything for me and my children.”

Rosario never planned to live in Costa Rica. She fled her home country in 2019, when she realized that her former partner’s abuse would never stop, and that the authorities were unable to protect her.

In the five years since her arrival in the country, HIAS Costa Rica has guided Rosario throughout her asylum process. She has also participated in the Wage Employment Program, which prepares refugees and migrants for entry into the labor market to overcome access barriers.

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According to data gathered by HIAS, five out of every 10 refugees and migrants in Costa Rica are currently unemployed. Out of those who are working, over half have unstable jobs and earn less than the minimum wage, making programs of this kind a necessity.

Refugees and migrants who receive support through the Wage Employment Program receive a wide range of services, such as skills training courses, job interview prep, workshops to build resumés, and talent match sessions where they are paired up with job opportunities that fit their profile.

After receiving guidance and consulting services from the Economic Inclusion team, Rosario found a job at a multinational company.

“I’d really like to grow within the company as they have great employee benefits, and they treat us really well,” she said.

The HIAS Costa Rica economic inclusion team works with private companies across the country to recommend candidates and to raise awareness of the importance of hiring displaced people.

“I’m really happy because I’ll soon have a home for me and my children that will be our own in Costa Rica”


“Our program addresses the unique challenges displaced people face,” said Angie Solorzano, economic inclusion coordinator for HIAS Costa Rica “We do so by providing training courses and consulting services based on the needs of the market and of our participants.”

Rosario is not only enjoying the present — she’s also making plans for her future in Costa Rica. She’s currently saving up to buy her own home.

“I’m really happy because I’ll soon have a home for me and my children that will be our own in Costa Rica,” she said.

With the support of the U.S. State Department and in coordination with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), HIAS Costa Rica’s Economic Inclusion program has supported 7,151 refugees and migrants in Costa Rica to learn new skills and find meaningful, dignified economic opportunities since 2019. Read more here.

*Participant names have been changed to protect their identity.


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