El Salvador is working on alternatives so some of its 200,000 nationals facing potential deportation from the United States might be recruited by Qatar, the Central American country's foreign minister said on Tuesday.
Speaking during a visit to the Gulf state — one of the world's richest countries in the world and set to host the 2022 World Cup — Hugo Martinez said El Salvador had "very, very skilled" workers to offer Qatar.
"We are having negotiations about temporary workers, very, very skilled people, engineering people who work in aircraft maintenance and mechanics," Martinez told reporters on the sidelines of a local ceremony. "Very qualified people and we are negotiating that and we hope that we will achieve agreement."
The two countries are also in talks to launch direct flights from Qatar to El Salvador, according to Martinez.
Gas-rich Qatar, which is spending some $500 million a week on World Cup projects, has recruited a huge immigrant workforce to help develop the country.
Some 90 percent of the almost 2.7 million people living in Qatar are from overseas, though currently there are only thought to be around 100 from El Salvador.
Washington this week announced the end of a special protected status for around 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants in the United States, including almost 40,000 minors.
The move threatens the affected Salvadorans with deportation when the current status runs out in 18 months' time, with the risk of breaking up well-established families and separating Salvadoran parents from their US-born children.
Salvador was the country with the largest population living in the United States that recently lost the TPS status as a result of President Donald Trump's policies, after Haiti and Nicaragua earlier last year.
Salvadorean citizens living in the United States register an average of 21 years on U.S. territory.