One beautiful afternoon in Akumal, I was chatting with a gentleman from the United States at my favorite beach bar about the logistics of moving to Mexico. He was down on vacation, however, he had already purchased property in Playa del Carmen and was planning on making a permanent move in the not too distant future.
During our conversation, the topic of income sources came up and we discussed several popular options such as creating a business or working remotely.
He said that he was considering applying for a position in airplane maintenance at the Cancun airport because he had 30 years of experience doing that job for a large commercial airline in the U.S.
He looked a bit surprised when I told him that in spite of his extensive experience, he did not meet all the requirements for the job — and he never would.
The Requirement That Eliminates Foreigners — Even If They Become Mexican Citizens
Under Mexican law, a requirement for many jobs in the aviation industry is that the person is “Mexican by birth.” That clearly excludes those folks who immigrate to Mexico and later obtain their citizenship.
According to the law, the purpose of the strict requirement is to “guarantee the security of aeronautical operations.”
Let’s take a look at a few positions that have that particular requirement:
1. Commercial Pilots
This applies to all pilots ranging from commercial airline pilots to crop dusters, provided that the aircraft is registered in Mexico. [Ley Federal de Trabajo Artículos 215-218]
However, a non-Mexican or a naturalized citizen is permitted to get a private pilot’s license for non-commercial use. [Ley de Aviación Civil Artículo 38]
2. Flight Crew
This one also applies to commercial planes registered in Mexico. Even the flight attendants have to be Mexican by birth. [Ley Federal de Trabajo Artículos 215-218]
3. Air Traffic Controller
You won’t find any foreigners directing air traffic either. This one didn’t surprise me as much as the one regarding the flight crew.
4. Aviation Maintenance Technician
In order to be licensed to perform maintenance on any airplane regardless of where it is registered, the person must be Mexican by birth. [Ley de Aviación Civil Artículo 38]
Let’s Wrap This Up
These aren’t the only jobs that are limited to “Mexicans by birth”. I may do a future post on the topic, but until then, my advice for anyone who wants to look for employment in Mexico is to do a lot of research before you head down.
As for me, I’m going to continue to be a full-time retiree in Mexico who occasionally writes about random topics like this one while sipping his morning coffee. The job doesn’t pay well, but I still find it very satisfying.