Mexico to announce work visa program for Central Americans

FILE PHOTO: Mexican President Obrador speaks during a news conference in Mexico City

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico will present a program this week to give Central Americans temporary visas to work on public infrastructure projects, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Monday.

Such projects require more people such as welders, iron-workers and engineers, Lopez Obrador told his regular daily news conference.

"We need a workforce for these projects, especially if it's skilled labor," Lopez Obrador said. "We will guarantee them one year."

He did not provide details on how many visas would be issued, or for which projects.

Lopez Obrador has long pushed for investment in Central America to stem the migration of thousands of people every year fleeing poverty and violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

He has also sought to boost development in the impoverished southern region of Mexico, which sits near the border with Guatemala.

Lopez Obrador's flagship projects underway include a freight rail line meant to create a trade route between Mexico's Pacific and Gulf coasts, and a tourist train linking destinations around the Yucatan Peninsula.

(Reporting by Valentine Hilaire; Editing by Daina Beth Solomon and Marguerita Choy)