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Managing Labor Migration in the Twenty-First Century

Managing Labor Migration in the Twenty-First Century

Philip Martin
Manolo Abella
Christiane Kuptsch
Copyright Date: 2006
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Managing Labor Migration in the Twenty-First Century
    Book Description:

    Why have ninety million workers around the globe left their homes for employment in other countries? What can be done to ensure that international labor migration is a force for global betterment? This groundbreaking book presents the most comprehensive analysis of the causes and effects of labor migration available, and it recommends sensible, sustainable migration policies that are fair to migrants and to the countries that open their doors to them.

    The authors survey recent trends in international migration for employment and demonstrate that the flow of authorized and illegal workers over borders presents a formidable challenge in countries and regions throughout the world. They note that not all migration is from undeveloped to developed countries and discuss the murky relations between immigration policies and politics. The book concludes with specific recommendations for justly managing the world's growing migrant workforce.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-12996-0
    Subjects: Management & Organizational Behavior

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Part I Global Migration

    • [Part I Introduction]
      (pp. 1-2)

      Who is a migrant, and which countries send and receive migrants? In Chapter I we review migrant definitions and trends, highlighting the fact that there were 175 million migrants in 2000. Several factors discourage international migration, including inertia, government controls, and economic development, but growing demographic and economic differences between nations nonetheless are encouraging many people to cross national borders in hope of a better life. These differences, combined with revolutions in communications, transportation, and the rights of individuals vis-à-vis governments, promise more migrants in the twenty-first century.

      In many cases, countries facing common problems learn from each other, searching...

    • 1 Why International Migration?
      (pp. 3-13)

      The United Nations Population Division defines international migrants as persons outside their country of birth or citizenship for twelve months or more, regardless of the reason for moving or legal status abroad. No country defines migrants in this way: in the United States, for example, residents born in other countries are divided into various categories. A naturalized citizen is one who was born outside the United States and typically has been in the United States for at least five years before taking the citizenship oath. A legal immigrant is someone who has not become a U.S. citizen and may have...

    • 2 Global Migration Patterns and Issues
      (pp. 14-52)

      Almost all countries participate in the migration system as countries of origin, transit, or destination, and many play all three roles. However, perceptions of migration problems differ markedly between countries (Stalker, 1999). Canada and the United States are classic countries of immigration that have been shaped by newcomers from many countries, and they continue to plan for the arrival and integration of immigrants despite the fact that, in the U.S. case, 30 percent of foreign-born residents are unauthorized. Most European countries, by contrast, are reluctant countries of immigration, accepting the return of people from former colonies and guest workers who...

  5. Part II Professional and Unskilled Migrants

    • [Part II Introduction]
      (pp. 53-54)

      Most foreign worker programs are designed to add temporary workers to the labor force without adding permanent residents to the population. The terminology—temporary, migrant, or guest worker—emphasizes the rotation principle at the heart of guest worker programs: migrants are expected to work one or more years abroad and then return to their countries of origin. If the demand for migrant workers persists, replacements may be admitted, but the theory of migrant worker programs is that the employment-migrant ratio in the host country should remain near 100 percent, meaning that all foreigners related to the program are employed.


    • 3 Highly Skilled Guest Workers
      (pp. 55-82)

      Professional, technical, and kindred or related (PTK) workers are those with at least a college or university degree or equivalent work experience.¹ A key characteristic of professionals is that they have education and training that takes time to acquire, so their number cannot be increased quickly unless trained workers who are not employed in their field of training—nurses who are not working as nurses, for example—are induced to rejoin the workforce. Alternatively, PTK workers can be imported from abroad to quickly increase the supply. During the 1990s most industrial countries made it easier for foreign professionals to enter...

    • 4 Guest Worker Programs
      (pp. 83-120)

      Guest worker programs are designed to add workers temporarily to the labor force, not settlers to the population; workers are admitted with the understanding that they will not become immigrants and naturalized citizens. In most cases, guest workers fill year-round or permanent jobs, meaning that individuals should rotate in and out of the labor market and country in a revolving-door fashion. Most foreigners admitted under guest worker programs are unskilled workers who fill so-called 3-D jobs: dirty, dangerous, and difficult.

      In this chapter we review the shift from large-scale guest worker programs, in which admissions varied with the overall unemployment...

    • 5 Managing Guest Workers
      (pp. 121-130)

      There was and is a gap between the goals and outcomes of guest worker programs: employer decisions are distorted as some employers look beyond national borders for workers, and some migrants become dependent on foreign jobs and wages, so that guest worker programs tend to get larger and to last longer than originally anticipated. In this chapter we explain how to minimize the distortion and dependence that are inevitable in guest worker programs, how cooperation can ensure that the exodus of highly skilled migrants does not slow development in countries of origin, and how various policies can protect the rights...

  6. Part III Developing Countries and Sustainable Migration

    • [Part III Introduction]
      (pp. 131-132)

      The switch from large-scale to small-scale guest worker programs that draw migrants from the top and bottom of the educational ladder concerns primarily migrants from developing to developed countries. But migrants also move from poorer to richer countries within the developing world, and in the past decade many middle-income developing countries had to deal with guest worker issues for the first time. Many of these new labor importers are southeast Asian “tiger economies” that grew rapidly by attracting foreign investment to build factories and export goods. With many local workers taking factory jobs, migrants from poorer countries arrived to fill...

    • 6 Thailand: Migration in a Tiger Economy
      (pp. 133-149)

      Thailand is a “tiger economy” that had one of the world’s fastest economic growth rates between 1986 and 1996. Per capita income more than tripled from $750 to $2,400 as the economy, primarily agricultural previously, began to include far more industry and services. Thailand adopted an export-oriented economic policy in the mid-1980s and, with foreign direct investment, achieved 10 percent annual economic growth over the next decade, employing first female ruralurban migrants, and later foreign migrants, in export-oriented agriculture, in construction, and in manufacturing industries that produced clothing, textiles, and similar items for export (Archavanitkul, 1998, 12).

      The Thai economy...

    • 7 Managing Migration in the Twenty-first Century
      (pp. 150-168)

      Migration is a response to differences between areas that encourage individuals to move, usually to take advantage of higher incomes and jobs or more security and improved human rights. Reducing the root causes of such migration is a primary objective of U.N. agencies and national government development programs, as well as private efforts aimed at promoting development. The causes of the inequalities that promote migration are many and complex. Many of the root causes of emigration lie within the developing countries, but the trade, investment, and other economic policies of the industrial nations can increase or decrease emigration pressures. However,...

  7. Appendix: ILO Conventions on Migrants
    (pp. 169-190)
  8. Notes
    (pp. 191-208)
  9. References
    (pp. 209-215)
  10. Index
    (pp. 216-226)