Welcome to Work? Legal Migration Pathways for Low-Skilled Workers

Report Author: 
Kathleen Newland & Andrea Riester
Original Date of Publication: 
2018 Jan

This brief explores the international migration opportunities available to low-skilled workers, the constraints on their movement and the development impacts of these patterns. Permanent admissions programs for low-skilled labor are rare. However, a number of trends in Western industrialized countries have combined to create high demand for low-skilled workers to fill temporary and longer-term jobs. Some of this demand may be met indirectly, through family reunification or humanitarian admissions, but currently most programs for the admission of low-skilled workers are temporary programs. These are problematic, as they offer few rights and protections for migrants. Restrictions on the immigration of low-skilled workers have resulted in these jobs being often filled by unauthorized immigrants. Providing legal migration channels for low-skilled workers is a focus of a number of international discussions, including, for example, the Global Compact for Migration, which U.N. member states have agreed to negotiate by the end of 2018. The brief makes a number of recommendations for policymakers interested in creating or expanding low-skilled labor programs, including improving coordination between countries of origin and destination and building careful evaluation into program design. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)

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Citation: 

Newland, K., & Riester, A. (2018). Welcome to Work? Legal Migration Pathways for Low-Skilled Workers (Policy Brief) (p. 17). Washington, D.C.: Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved from https://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/welcome-work-legal-migration-pathways-low-skilled-workers

Source Organization: 
Migration Policy Institute