United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Development of Costa Rica’s Second National Integration Plan 2018- 2022

International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), Drectorate General for Migration and Foreigners(DGME) of Costa Rica, EU (
Intergovernmental organization

    Integration of immigrants has gained political salience in many Latin American countries. With the adoption of the General Migration Law in 2010, integration of immigrants became a priority on the Costa Rican migration agenda. In 2017, the Costa Rican Directorate General for Migration and Foreigners (DGME) requested support from the EU-ICMPD Migration EU eXpertise Initiative for capacity building in the area of migrant integration based on lessons learned from their first National Integration Plan.

    Implementation of the Project/Activity

    The Action was based on a participatory and evidence-based policy cycle methodology and included the following inter-related key steps: • Based on the experiences gained during its design and implementation, a comprehensive qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the first National Integration Plan (2013- 2017) was conducted, with a specific focus on the Social Migration Fund. • Research on the changing Costa Rican migration context and normative framework. • Exchange on lessons learnt and good practices on specific integration measures with European peers. Besides national experiences, the integration policies and measures of the cities of Barcelona, Madrid and Vienna were studied during the workshops and study visit. • Two public officials from Spain acted as experts in the implementation of the Action. • Workshops to define the new thematic priorities of the NIP (migration and health, labour market integration, education and integration, integration of vulnerable migrants, xenophobia and racism) by applying a participatory approach. An Action Plan with a results-based monitoring and evaluation framework for the period 2018 -2022 accompanies the plan. • Stakeholder consultations to fine-tune the wording clarify meaning and make adjustments to the draft 2nd National Integration Plan. • Adoption by the DGME and presentation to the Costa Rican National Migration Council and an audience of key stakeholders.


    Costa Rica's 2nd National Integration Plan 2018-2022, its Action Plan and roadmap for implementation, including budgeting, was presented in December 2017. Since then, the plan’s five strategic axes (recognition of the diversity; migrant, refugee and applicant populations refuge in a vulnerable condition; migration and work; migration and health; and migration and education) and its 26 strategic actions address migrant inclusion as a holistic process. The evidence base from which to develop the plan came from the socio-demographic study incorporated civil society who led the research into the analysis of the changing Costa Rican migration context with the support of a local NGO, as well as the achievements and challenges in immigrant integration. The Organization of American States has listed the Integration Plan as a good practice in March 2021.

    Enabling factors and constraints

    Participatory whole-of-government approach: facilitating the inclusion of different policy fields and levels of governance in the design of the policy, ensuring accountability and transparency. Gender dimension in the entire policy development process. Involvement of academia, NGOs and migrant communities in formulation. Involvement from the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Policy. • Buy-in from political level: the National Council of Migration is the inter-institutional government body overseeing the implementation of the NIP and was regularly updated about policy development progress. • Creating regional synergies: the Costa Rican DGME presented the plan during a series of seminars on integration of migrants to the Mexican Government counterparts.

    Sustainability and replicability

    The Organization of American States has listed the practice as a good practice and calls for its replication across Latin America. This initiative could be replicated at global, regional and sub-regional level in support of goal 10 target 7.2 and 7.3 by offering the practice as a case study for other interested States to advance towards equal societies. The EU-ICMPD Migration EU eXpertise Initiative can channel the requests from institutions that would request this intervention. Costa Rican stakeholders could capacitate counterparts to foster a peer-to-peer exchange.

    Other sources of information

    Publication "Building Bridges" (page 125) Costa Rica case study. Available on: https://www.mieux-initiative.eu/files/MIEUX_Building_Bridges_EN_WEB.pdf https://www.mieux-initiative.eu/en/ https://www.mieux-initiative.eu/en/news-events/news/62-costa-rica-2nd-national-integration-plan-2018-2022-launched Inequalities along the migration journey: MIEUX at the European Development Days 2019 https://www.mieux-initiative.eu/en/news-events/news/129-edds-2019 https://www.rree.go.cr/?sec=servicios&cat=prensa&cont=593&id=5873

    COVID-19 Impact

    Costa Rica faces a major challenge due to the strong migratory pressure as a result of its attractiveness as a country, its political stability, high standards of respect for human rights and its strong commitment to peace with an important social protection system. COVID-19 has exacerbated the challenges related to the reception system of asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants. This practice could help in building back better by replicating the partnership between civil society as a provider of data and analysis closer to the ground and national government acting upon this information to adapt the indicators of the Action Plan that monitors the five axes of the National Integration Plan to the current challenges.

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    This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
    01 January 2017 (start date)
    08 December 2017 (date of completion)
    ICMPD and DG Migration and Immigration Costa Rica
    Other beneficiaries

    Key stakeholders included the National Migration Council, the Directorate General of Migration and Immigration, the NGO Fundacion GESO, the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Policy, Ministry of Justice and Peace, National Ombudsperson Office, Ministry for Public Security, Ministry of Public Education, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, migrant rights organisations and two Spanish experts Public Administration.

    Costa Rica
    Costa Rica
    Contact Information

    Laura, Development of Costa Rica’s Second National Integration Plan 2018- 2022