A "migrant worker" is a person who either migrates within their home country or outside it to pursue work such as seasonal work. Migrant workers usually do not have an intention to stay permanently in the country or region in which they work.

Migrant workers who work outside their home country may also be called foreign workers or expatriates, especially when they are sent for or invited to work in the host country before leaving the home country.

The International Labour Organization estimated in 2014 there were 232 million international migrants worldwide who were outside their home country for at least 12 months and approximately half of them were estimated to be economically active (i.e. being employed or seeking employment).[1] Some countries have millions of migrant workers. Some migrant workers may be illegal immigrants. Some may be slaves.

United Nations' definition

The "United Nations Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families"[2] defines migrant worker as follows:

The Convention has been ratified by Mexico, Brazil, and the Philippines (among many other nations that supply foreign labour) but it has not been ratified by the United States, Germany, and Japan (among other nations that receive foreign labor).

Worldwide perspectives


Since the 1960s, farmers in Ontario and other provinces have been meeting some of their seasonal labour needs by hiring temporary workers from Caribbean countries and, since 1974, from Mexico under the Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (CSAWP). This federal initiative allows for the organized entry into Canada of low- to mid-level skilled farm workers for up to eight months a year to fill labour shortages on Canadian farms during peak periods of planting, cultivating and harvesting of specified farm commodities. The program is run jointly with the governments of Mexico and the participating Caribbean states, which recruit the workers and appoint representatives in Canada to assist in the program's operations.[3]

In Canada, non-agricultural companies are beginning to recruit temporary foreign workers under Service Canada's 2002 expansion of an immigration program for migrant workers.

As of 2002, the federal government introduced the Low Skill Pilot Project. This project allows companies to apply to bring in temporary foreign workers to fill low skill jobs. The classification of "low skill" means that workers require no more than high school or two years of job-specific training to qualify.

In 2006, the federal Conservatives expanded the list of occupations that qualified for the Low Skill Pilot Project and increased the speed of processing applications.[citation needed]


A Mingong is working in China

Overall, the Chinese government has tacitly supported migration as means of providing labour for factories and construction sites and for the long-term goals of transforming China from a rural-based economy to an urban-based one.[4] Some inland cities have started providing migrants with social security, including pensions and other insurance. In 2012, there were a reported 167 million migrant workers in China, with trends of working closer to home within their own or a neighbouring province but with a wage drop of 21%. Because so many migrant workers are moving to the city from rural areas, employers can hire them to work in poor working conditions for extremely low wages.[4] Migrant workers in China are notoriously marginalized, especially due to the hukou system of residency permits, which tie one stated residence to all social welfare benefits.[5][6]

European Union

The recent expansions of the European Union have provided opportunities for many people to migrate to other EU countries for work. For both the 2004 and 2007 enlargements, existing states were given the rights to impose various transitional arrangements to limit access to their labour markets. After the Second World War, Germany did not have enough workers so laborers from other European states were invited to work in Germany. This invitation ended in 1973 and these workers were known as Gastarbeiter.

1 March has become a symbolic day for transnational migrants' strike. This day unites all migrants to give them a common voice to speak up against racism, discrimination and exclusion on all levels of social life. The transnational protests on 1 March were originally initiated in the US in 2006 and have encouraged migrants in other countries to organise and take action on that day. In Austria the first transnational migrants' strike (Transnationaler Migrant innenstreik) took place in March 2011, in the form of common actions, e.g. a manifestation, but also in form of numerous decentralised actions.


According to the Finnish trade union organizations SAK (Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions) and PAM Finnish Service Union United PAM foreign workers were increasingly abused in the construction and transportation sectors in Finland in 2012, in some cases reporting hourly wages as low as two euros. Bulgarians, Kosovars and Estonians were the most likely victimised in the building trade.[7]


There has been a substantial flow of people from Bangladesh and Nepal to India over recent decades in search of better work. Researchers at the Overseas Development Institute found that these migrant workers are often subject to harassment, violence, and discrimination during their journeys at their destinations and when they return home.[8] Bangladeshi women appear to be particularly vulnerable. These findings highlight the need to promote migrants' rights with, among others, health staff, police and employers at destination.


The population of Indonesia, as the world's fourth largest, has contributed to the surplus of work forces. Combined with a scarcity of jobs at home, this has led numbers of Indonesians to seek job abroad. It is estimated around 4.5 million Indonesians work abroad, 70% of them are women, most are employed in domestic sector as maid and in manufacture sector. Most of them aged between 18 and 35 years old. Around 30% are men, mostly work in plantation, construction, transportation and service sector.[9] Currently Malaysia employs the largest numbers of Indonesian migrant workers, followed by Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, and Singapore.[10] It is important to note that these are official numbers, the actual numbers might be far larger contributed by unrecorded illegal entry of Indonesian workers into foreign countries. They are prone to exploitation, extortion, physical and sexual abuses, suffered by those enduring human trafficking. Several cases of abuses upon Indonesian migrant worker has been reported and some has gained worldwide attention.

Latin America

Immigrants often take any job is available and often they find employment in the fields. When they finally do find jobs they usually consist of hard manual labour along with unfair pay. In the article "Migrant Farmworkers: Is government doing enough to protect them?” by William Triplett, Triplett describes that the “median annual income was $7,500, and 61 percent had income below the poverty level” (Triplett). After losing their cultural identity immigrants try to find the way to feed their families and end up being exploited. The study by William Triplett describes the annual income to be about 7,500 dollars, or about 625 dollars a month. Triplett also mentions that since 1989, “their average real hourly wages (in 1998 dollars) had dropped from $6.89 to $6.18” One cannot expect to live a healthy life making this kind of money. The pursuit of happiness must not apply to all humans as stated in the constitution. Without help immigrants will constantly be forced to work horrible labour jobs for little to no money. Although battles have been fought for betting the wages researchers found that they have actually decreased. As the cost of living has increased the average pay for a migrant farm worker has actually decreased. Along with economic exploitation in the work place immigrants also suffer from physical exploitation in the work place. [11]


In Seventh Malaysia Plan (1995–2000), Malaysia's total population increased by 2.3 percent a year, while foreign residents (non-citizens) covers 7.6 percent of the total working-age population in Malaysia, not including illegal foreign residents. In 2008 majority of migrant workers (1,085,658: 52.6%) come from their country of origin Indonesia and followed by Bangladesh (316,401), Philippine (26,713), Thailand (21,065) and Pakistan (21,278). Meanwhile, number of migrant workers from other countries is (591,481). Their arrival, if not controlled, will decrease the local population's employment opportunities. However, the arrival of migrant workers was able to increase the country's output and reduce the rate of wages in the local labor market. Despite the benefits received by both the sending and receiving countries, many problems arise in the receiving country, Malaysia. The actual number of how many migrant workers in Malaysia right now is very difficult to identify. The number of legally to work with a passport and work permit certain can be identified.


In 2013, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) estimated that approximately 10.2 million Filipinos worked or resided abroad.[12] In the census year of 2010, about 9.3 percent of Filipinos worked or resided abroad.[16]

More than a million Filipinos every year leave to work abroad through overseas employment agencies, and other programs, including government-sponsored initiatives. Overseas Filipinos often work as doctors, physical therapists, nurses, accountants, IT professionals, engineers, architects, entertainers, technicians, teachers, military servicemen, seafarers, students and fast food workers.[17] Also, a sizable number of women work overseas as domestic helpers and caregivers.[18] The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration is an agency of the Government of the Philippines responsible for opening the benefits of the overseas employment program of the Philippines. It is the main government agency assigned to monitor and supervise recruitment agencies in the Philippines.


Since the late 1970s Singapore has become one of the major receiving countries of migrant workers in Southeast Asia with 1,340,300 foreign workers constituting 37% of the total workforce in December 2014.[19] [20] It is the highest proportion of foreign labour force in Asia. About 991,300 of these foreign workers fall under the category of unskilled or low-skilled.[19] Currently, there are 322,700 male construction workers and 222,500 are female domestic workers in Singapore.[19] They are from different countries like Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Thailand. In order to control the larger amount of these labours, Singapore implemented clear migration policies with visa categories available for all skill levels.[21] The entry of foreign domestic workers is controlled through strict enforcement of a "guestworker policy of transience". The employers are required to post a S$5,000 bond with the Government to guarantee the worker's repatriation at the end of her two-year work permit. The government controls the entire realm of migrant workers with this law.[22]

South Korea

Like many nations, South Korea started as a labour exporter in the 1960s before its economic development in the 1980s changed it to a labor importer.[23] In 1993, the Industrial Trainee Program was established to meets the needs of migrant workers. It provided work for foreigners as trainees in small and medium-sized businesses. However, these workers were considered trainees and not official employees, so they could not receive protection under Korean labour laws. On 14 February 1995 Guidelines for the Protection and Management of Foreign Industrial Trainees provided legal and social welfare for migrant workers. The Act on the Employment of Foreign Workers which states that “a foreign worker shall not be given discriminatory treatment on the ground that he/she is a foreigner”, was put into force on 16 August 2003. Later that year the numbers of migrant workers multiplied dramatically.[23]

Even though there has been a drastic rise of migrant workers in Korea and policies are in place for their protection, the lack of cheap labour in Korea has forced the Korean community to condone the maltreatment of illegal migrant workers, and other unsavoury practices. In response, the Korean government has increased the quota for migrant workers by 5,000, to 62,000 individuals in 2013.[24] In addition, on 31 January 2013, the minimum wage for migrant workers increased to 38,880 KRW for eight hours per day or a monthly rate of 1,015,740 KRW.[25] Programs were put into place to protect migrant workers and ease their integration to Korean society. Programs sponsored by the government such as Sejonghakdang (세종학당), Multicultural Center of Gender Equality and Family Program, Foreign Ministry Personnel Center Program, and Ministry of Justice Social Integration Program provide free Korean language lessons for migrant workers. In addition, by fulfilling all the requirements of the Ministry of Justice Social Integration Program, migrant workers can apply for Korean citizenship without taking the Naturalization exams.


Since December 2008, Sweden has more liberal rules for labor immigration from 'third countries' – countries outside the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) – than any other country in OECD. The introduction of employer-driven labor immigration, motivated by the need to address labor shortages, resulted in large inflows of migrants also in low-skilled occupations in labor surplus sectors, for example the restaurant and cleaning sectors.[26]


As of June 2016, there are more than 600,000 migrant workers in Taiwan which are spread across different sectors of industry, ranging from construction workers, domestic helpers, factory workers and other manual jobs. Most of them come from Southeast Asia.[27]


In Thailand, migrants come from bordering countries such as Burma, Laos and Cambodia. Many face hardships such as lack of food, abuse, and low wages. Often deportation is their biggest fear. In Bangkok, Thailand many migrant workers attend Dear Burma school where they study subjects such as Thai language, Burmese language, English language, computer skills and photography.[28]

United Arab Emirates

The treatment of migrant workers in the UAE has been likened to "modern-day slavery".[29] Migrant workers are excluded from the UAE's collective labour rights, hence migrants are vulnerable to forced labour. Migrant workers in the UAE are not allowed to join trade unions.[30] Moreover, migrant workers are banned from going on strike.[30][31] Dozens of workers were deported in 2014 for going on strike.[32] As migrant workers do not have the right to join a trade union or go on strike, they don't have the means to denounce the exploitation they suffer. Those who protest risk prison and deportation.[30] The International Trade Union Confederation has called on the United Nations to investigate evidence that thousands of migrant workers in the UAE are treated as slave labour.[33]

Human Rights Watch have drawn attention to the mistreatment of migrant workers who have been turned into debt-ridden de facto indentured servants[34] following their arrival in the UAE. Confiscation of passports, although illegal, occurs on a large scale, primarily from unskilled or semi-skilled employees.[35] Labourers often toil in intense heat with temperatures reaching 40–50 degrees Celsius in the cities in August. Although attempts have been made since 2009 to enforce a midday break rule, these are frequently flouted. Those labourers who do receive a midday break often have no suitable place to rest and tend to seek relief in bus or taxi stands and gardens.[36] Initiatives taken have brought about a huge impact on the conditions of the laborers. According to Human Rights Watch, migrant workers in Dubai live in "inhumane" conditions.

Female migrant worker

According to the International Labour Organization, 48 per cent of all international migrants are women and they are increasingly migrating for work purposes.[37] In Europe alone there are 3 million female migrant workers. The 1970s and 1980s have seen an increase in female migrant labourers in France and Belgium. In China, as of 2015 a third of their migrant workers were women[38] who had moved from rural towns to bigger cities in search of employment.[39] Female migrants work in domestic occupations which are considered part of the informal sector and lack a degree of government regulation and protection.[4] Minimum wages and work hour requirements are ignored and piece-rates are sometimes also implemented. Women's wages are kept lower than men's because they are not regarded as the primary source of income in the family.[40]

Migrant agricultural worker's family, California, 1936

Women migrate in search of work for a number of reasons and the most common reasons are economic: the husband's wage is no longer enough to support the family. In some places, like China, for instance, rapid economic growth has led to an imbalance in the modernization of rural and urban environments, leading women to migrate from rural areas into the city to be a part of the push for modernization.[39] Other reasons include familial pressure, on a daughter, for instance, who is seen as a reliable source of income for the family only through remittances. Young girls and women are singled out in families to be migrant workers because they don't have a viable alternative role to fulfil in the local village.[41] If they go to work in the urban centres as domestic workers they can send home money to help provide for their younger siblings.[41] Many of these women come from developing countries, and are low skilled.[42] Additionally women who are widowed or divorced and have limited economic opportunities in their native country may be forced to leave out of economic necessity. Migration can also substitute for divorce in societies that don't allow or do not condone divorce.[40]

Impact on roles within the family

In terms of migrant labour, many women move from a more oppressive home country to a less oppressive environment where they have actual access to waged work. As such, leaving the home and obtaining increased economic independence and freedom challenges traditional gender roles. This can be seen to strengthen women's position in the family by improving their relative bargaining position. They have more leverage in controlling the household because they have control over a degree of economic assets. However, this can lead to hostility between wives and husbands who feel inadequate or ashamed at their inability to fulfil their traditional role as breadwinner. The hostility and resentment from the husband can also be a source of domestic violence.[43] Studies have also been done which point to changes in family structures as a result of migrant labour. These changes include increased divorce rates and decrease in household stability. Additionally, female migrant labour has been indicated as a source for more egalitarian relationships within the family, decline of extended family patterns, and more nuclear families.[40] There is also a risk for infidelity abroad, which also erodes the family structure.[44]

Researchers identified three groups of women to represent the dimensions of gender roles in Singapore. The first group is made up of expatriate wives who are often reduced to dependent spouse status by immigration laws. The second group are housewives who left work in order to take care of the children at home. Although they are from the Singaporean middle class, they are stuck at almost the same level and share status with the third group, foreign domestic workers. Because of global economic restructuring and global city formation, the mobility of female labours is increasing. However, they are controlled through strict enforcement and they are statistically invisible in migration data. The female foreign domestic workers are always gender-stereotyped as maids and generalized as low wages workers in society.[45]

Children of female migrant workers

Group of Florida migrants near Shawboro, North Carolina on their way to Cranbury, New Jersey, to pick potatoes

Migrant labour of women also raises special concerns about children. Female migrant workers may not have enough possibilities to care for their own children whilst being abroad. Their children may learn to regard their relatives at home as their parents and may rarely see their mothers. Frequently, children of migrant workers become migrant workers themselves. There is concern that this may have negative psychological effects on the children who are left behind. Although this has not been proven to be entirely true or false, studies have been done which show that many children of migrant workers manage reasonably well. One theory states that remittances to some degree make up for the lack of care by providing more resources for food and clothing. Additionally, some migrant mothers take great care in attempting to maintain familial relationships while abroad.[44]

Migrant education

See Migrant education.

A school for the children of white migrant farm workers, circa 1945

Children of migrant workers struggle to achieve the same level of educational success as their peers. Relocation, whether it is a singular or regular occurrence, causes discontinuity in education, which causes migrant students to progress slowly through school and drop out at high rates. Additionally, relocation has negative social consequences on students: isolation from peers due to cultural differences and Language barriers. Migrant children are also at a disadvantage because the majority live in extreme poverty and must work with their parents to support their families.[46] These barriers to equal educational attainment for children of migrant workers are present in countries all over the world. Although the inequality in education remains pronounced, government policies, non-governmental organizations, non-profits, and social movements are working to reverse its effects.

Migrant labour force in economy

The migrant workforce has historically played a vital role nationally and across local communities in recent times. Economic globalization has created more migrant workers than ever before. While developed countries have increased their demand for labour, especially unskilled labour, workers from developing countries are used. As a result, millions of workers and their families travel to other countries to find work. This influx of migrant workers contributes to growth of slums and urban poverty, according to Mike Davis.[47] Some of these workers, usually from rural areas, cannot afford housing in cities and thus live in slums.[48] Some of these unskilled workers living in slums suffer from unemployment and make a living in the informal sector.[49] According to International Labor Organization, as of 2013 there were approximately 175 million migrants around the world.[50]

Exploitation and enslavement of migrant workers

Recruitment of international workers through employment agencies is a common phenomenon in developed countries, such as the United States or the UAE. Especially members of underprivileged communities are attracked by the opportunities of living and working in the US. Some of these agencies make fraudulent promises. But even worse than false promises, some migrants are abused and mistreated by the agencies and their middlemen.[51][52] Some migrant workers may have their passports and mobile phones confiscated, are imprisoned in the employer's home or at least strictly overseen and disconnected from society, friends and family; some may not receive their full wage and have to work unrestrained long hours without breaks or days off. Migrant workers may also be denied adequate food and living conditions, as well as medical treatment.[52]

In a study done by the Human Rights Watch of 99 domestic workers in the United Arab Emirates, 22 alleged that their sponsors had physically abused them.[52] Workers refuse to report their abuse due to fear of deportation and not being able to find a better job. It is common in some cases for a woman to fall victim to sexual violence and harassment, because the employers and their stories will always be trusted more.[52]

Some migrant workers flee from their abusive employers and seek help at the embassy or consulate of their home country. This however, is difficult to achieve in remote locations.[52]

Indian Migrant Workers

A United States Company, Signal International, led by an immigration lawyer, Malvern C. Burnett, and an Indian labor recruiter, Sachin Dewan, "lured hundreds of Indian workers to a Mississippi shipyard with false promises of permanent US residency."[53] This was under the H-2B visa guest worker program, to work as welders, pipefitters, and in other positions to repair damaged oil rigs and related facilities. Each worker paid the labor recruiters between $10,000 and $20,000 or more in recruitment fees and other costs after being promised good jobs, green cards, and permanent U.S. residency. Some went deep into debt.[54] "On arrival at Signal shipyards in Pascagoula, Mississippi, beginning in 2006, they discovered that they wouldn't receive the green cards or permanent residency, and that in fact, each would have to pay $1,050 a month to live in isolated, guarded labor camps where as many as 24 men shared a space the size of a double-wide trailer."[54]


Signal International Company "had to compensate workers $14.4 million in a jury ruling to five Indian guest workers, one of the largest settlements of its kind in U.S. history. The ruling was based on the finding that the company and its agents engaged in labor trafficking, fraud, racketeering and discrimination, News India Times reported at that time. The jury also found that one of the plaintiffs was a victim of false imprisonment and retaliation."[54]

Philippines migrant workers

There have been many cases of corruption among brokers who often act as if they have companies, often encouraging migrants to come to the United States. This was the case with broker, Kizzy Kalu was, "a naturalized United States citizen from Nigeria".[55] "He secured government approval to bring in Filipino nurses under a government visa program, claiming they would be paid up to $72,000 as instructors at an Adam University in Colorado, according to a 2012 criminal indictment of the labor broker."[51] Adams State University did exist in Colorado, however Adam University was nonexistent just as much as the jobs that were supposed to be there for migrants. "Kalu promised the nurses, most from the Philippines, jobs as nurse instructors/supervisors."[56] "He arranged with the Departments of Labor and Homeland Security to provide H-1B visas for the workers, saying that Adam University faced a labor shortage and needed foreign labor to serve as nursing instructors/supervisors," as a way to lure workers in.[56]

Kizzy Kalu and "other foreign nationals" received compensation for these visas after they secured and received them for the soon to be workers. "Kalu $6,500 for assistance in obtaining them. Upon arrival in Denver, Colorado, the nurses were told that there was no such place as Adam University. Instead, they were sent to "work in nursing homes. The facilities paid Kalu's company, Foreign Health Care Professionals Group, $35 per hour for one of the nurses. Kalu then pocketed almost half the wage and paid the nurse $20 an hour."[56] He continued to exploit these workers by allowing them to work while he was the one gaining their profit. He had to report to the government about these women and that they were in fact working in the country so that he could continue to receive funds, while they too continued working. And that is what he did. "Documents he submitted to the government didn't indicate that he and his partner, Philip Langerman, were taking a large portion of the visa-holders' wages."[56]

Eventually, this scheme that Kalu and his partner Phillip Langerman created began to become known to the public. Instead of the facilities paying the company they had created together from the work the women were doing, "the nurses were paid directly by the facilities but were required to pay Kalu $1,200 a month or Kalu would send a letter to the Department of Homeland Security and they would lose their visas, prosecutors said."[56] Soon, the nurses realized this kind of unfair treatment and mode of oppression and stopped paying him. Therefore, their visas got revoked because he reported this matter to officials.


Kizzy Kalu was guilty of "trafficking in forced labor for luring foreign nurses to the United States with promises of high-paying jobs but then demanding they kick back a portion of their wages or face deportation."[56] He was sentenced to nearly 11 years in prison and ordered to pay $3.8 million in restitution. He was convicted of 89 counts of mail fraud, visa fraud, human trafficking and money laundering. Kalu's partner, Philip Langerman, 78, of McDonough, Ga., was sentenced to three years of probation for his role in the criminal scheme. He, too, must pay restitution of $3.8 million." U.S. District Chief Judge Marcia Krueger said in this case unlike many others, "Kalu did not sexually assault, isolate or strike his victims. She describe these cases as "fraud and economic coercion."[55]

Other Cases

There are other fraudulent cases by United States companies that recruit and employ Filipino workers. On 19 March 2013, in an article titled, "Filipino Workers Urge Overhaul of U.S. Guest Worker Policies", information is provided about the corruption in labor. "The shipyard, Grand Isle Shipyard (GIS) in L.A., put the Filipinos to work on an oil production platform owned by Black Elk Energy, a U.S. company that, according to federal regulators, had racked up 315 documented "incidents of safety non-compliance" offshore since 2010.The problems at Black Elk Energy were amplified following an explosion in November on a platform in the Gulf of Mexico that claimed the lives of three Filipino workers, while three others were seriously injured."[57] This problem became known because the work at this company against workers were very dangerous even before they were hired which is why work here was put to a stop. However this did not stop GIS. They needed to make their money and unfortunately the migrant workers were the ones who suffered.

“The main [hazardous condition] is the sleep deprivation that they experience – just long hours of work that the [U.S.] workers don't face. They're forced to work sometimes for two weeks straight, 70 hours a week."[57] They hired and recruited many skillful men from the Philippines who were "welders, pipefitters and scaffolders were trafficked under "fraudulent" contracts that promised high pay and safe working conditions. But many were placed for work on dangerous oil rig platforms."[57]

The Filipino Government

"The Philippine government has long lauded the fact that, every day, some 4,500 Filipinos are sent abroad to work. The remittances they send back keeps the Philippine economy afloat.The government doesn't seem to provide any protection when these overseas Filipino workers run into distress. This labour export policy is still one of their pillars of development – pushing people to other countries instead of addressing poverty or lack of jobs at home."[57] Instead of sending workers out just because the process helps the economy at their countries of origin, the country needs to examine ways in which they can work with the people to obtain jobs or at least create more jobs. When their skilled workers come to the United States and are often exploited, sexually, physically and mentally it not only affects the worker, but also the country upon their return-or if they are able to return at all due to the conditions they face. These are risky jobs and journeys taken by migrants to ensure themselves better lives and also their families. The governments need to do more. "The exploitative immigration system of the U.S. works hand-in-hand with the corrupt labour export policy of the Philippines to maintain a steadily increasing flow of cheap, temporary migrant labour."[57]

Mexico migrant workers

Since the early 1980s an increasing numbers of Mexican women, have migrated to the United States in search of jobs. These women very often leave their families, including young children, behind in order to help maintain the family. Once arriving in the U.S the conditions they are put to work and live in places that are not sanitary and dangerous.  Companies and traffickers promise legitimate  and better jobs in America as a way to increase their own economical status. These Americans who exploit and enslave these people only to  reinforce ideas of colonialism and imperialism. 

An article "Girl Next Door," by Peter Landsman examines this brutal and inhumane system of oppression towards migrant workers. "On a tip, the Plainfield police raided the house in February 2002, expecting to find illegal aliens working an underground brothel. What the police found were four girls between the ages of 14 and 17. They were all Mexican nationals without documentation. But they weren't prostitutes; they were sex slaves. The distinction is important: these girls weren't working for profit or a paycheck. They were captives to the traffickers and keepers who controlled their every move."[58] These girls, a large percentage are underaged, are forcefully lured from their homeland in Mexico and other parts of Latin America. This section mainly focused on the exploitation of men and women however, it was very disturbing to even learn that children were also trafficked and stolen from their homelands.

"They had been promised jobs as models and baby sitters in the glamorous United States, and they probably had no idea why they were sitting in a van in a backwater like Tijuana in the early evening."[58]

Conditions Girls Were Kept In

"The police found a squalid, land-based equivalent of a 19th-century slave ship." There were doorless bathrooms, decaying sinks and mattresses, morning after pills (medications that can induce abortion) and girls were pale, exhausted and malnourished.[58] However, this is just an example of one of the apartments and houses that were affected by this type of abuses. Many other houses or neighborhoods in the U.S that seem to be upscale and upperclass are infested with these types of illegal actions.

Migrant workers' rights

The "People's Movement for Human Rights Education (PDHRE)" have composed a list of fourteen rights for migrant workers.[59]

Effects on migrant workers' health

Monica Rosales (a professor from Colorado State University) describes work-related injuries in her journal article titled "Life in the field: Migrant farm workers’ perceptions of work related injuries”. Rosales discusses bone problems, respiratory problems and allergic reactions all in relation to the migrant farm work that immigrants do to make money. Rosales discussed how these working conditions affect the lives of immigrants. Rosales states that “The average life expectancy of migrant and seasonal farm workers is 49 years of age, in comparison to the U.S. average of 75 years of age”.[60] On top of unfair[clarification needed] wages, migrant workers often find themselves toiling in dangerous working conditions. The life expectancy compared to average is 26 years less for a migrant worker in the U.S.[61]

A survey by Lien Centre for Social Innovation in Singapore also found that over 60 per cent of lower-skilled South Asian migrant workers who are waiting for salary or injury compensation from employers were predicted to have serious mental illness.[62]

National vs. transnational migration

Like transnational migration, national (internal) migration plays an important role in poverty reduction and economic development. For some countries, internal migrants outnumber those who migrate internationally. For example, 120 million people were estimated to migrate internally in China compared to 458,000 people who migrated internationally for work.[63] Situations of surplus labour in rural areas because of scarcity of arable land is a common "push factor" in the move of individuals to urban-based industries and service jobs. Environmental factors including drought, waterlogging, and river-bank erosion also contribute to internal migration.[63]

There are four spatial patterns of internal migration:[63]

  1. Rural-rural migration: in many poor countries like Senegal, rural-rural migration occurs when labourers from poorer regions travel to agriculturally-rich and irrigated areas which have more work.
  2. Rural-urban migration: seen in the urbanizing economies of Asia, migration of poor agricultural workers move to larger cities and manufacturing centers.
  3. Urban-rural migration: migration that occurs when individuals retire back to their villages. Often, migrants who return bring back skill sets that benefit their home areas tremendously.
  4. Urban-urban migration: as the predominant form of internal migration, this movement takes place from the centre of towns to the outer areas of the town.

Circular migration, the temporary and repetitive movement of a migrant worker between home and host areas, can occur both internally and transnationally.

See also


  1. ^ "Mainstreaming of Migration in Development Policy and Integrating Migration in the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda" (PDF). www.ilo.org. 
  2. ^ UN (1990)
  3. ^ Lois Ross, Migrant Workers in Canada: a review of the Canadian seasonal agricultural workers program, (The North-South Institute, 2006)
  4. ^ a b c China Blue. Dir. Micha X. Peled. Teddy Bear Films. 2005. DVD
  5. ^ Wong; et al. "Rural migrant workers in urban China: living a marginalised life". International Journal of Social Welfare. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  6. ^ http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/16/asia/china-migrant-children/
  7. ^ Unions: Foreign workers often underpaid, overworked yle 4 February 2013
  8. ^ Samuels, F. et al. (2012) Stories of harassment, violence and discrimination: migrant experiences between India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Overseas Development Institute Briefing Paper http://www.odi.org.uk/publications/6087-migration-india-nepal-bangladesh-harassment-violence-discrimination
  9. ^ "Profil" (in Indonesian). Migrant Care. Retrieved 2014-11-26. 
  10. ^ "25 Negara Terbesar Penempatan Tenaga Kerja Luar Negeri Indonesia Tahun 2014 (1 Januari s.d 31 Oktober 2014)" (pdf) (in Indonesian). BNP2TKI. p. 7. Retrieved 2014-11-26. 
  11. ^ Triplett, William. "Migrant Farmworkers." CQ Researcher 8 October 2004: 829–52. Web. 6 November 2013.
  12. ^ "Stock Estimate of Filipinos Overseas As of December 2013" (PDF). Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. Retrieved 2015-09-19. 
  13. ^ "The 2010 Census of Population and Housing Reveals the Philippine Population at 92.34 Million". Philippine Statistics Authority. 4 April 2012. 
  14. ^ "Stock Estimate of Filipinos Overseas As of December 2010" (PDF). Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. Retrieved 2015-10-26. 
  15. ^ Yvette Collymore (June 2003). "Rapid Population Growth, Crowded Cities Present Challenges in the Philippines". Population Reference Bureau. An estimated 10 percent of the country's population, or nearly 8,000,000 people, are overseas Filipino workers distributed in 182 countries, according to POPCOM. That is in addition to the estimated 3,000,000 migrants who work illegally abroad. 
  16. ^ Calculation:
    Domestic population (2010): ~92.34 million[13]
    Overseas Filipinos (2010): ~9.45 million[14] Some sources have indicated that there are on the order of 3 million additional Filipinos working illegally abroad.[15] These have not been included in this calculation.
    Total Filipinos (2010): ~101.79 million
    9.45 million is about 9.3% of 101.79 million.
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  20. ^ Ministry of Manpower. 2015, 12 March. Employment. Retrieved from http://stats.mom.gov.sg/Pages/Employment-Summary-Table.aspx
  21. ^ Piper, Nicola. Migrant Labor in Southeast Asia. Asia Research Institute National University of Singapore. 
  22. ^ Yeoh, Brenda S.A. (2000). Global Cities, Transnational Flows and Gender Dimensions, The View From Singapore. Department of Geography, University of merica: The Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG. 
  23. ^ a b Yoo. "Foreign Workers in the Republic of Korea" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 January 2013. 
  24. ^ "MigrantWorkers Center :: View topic – 62,000 foreign workers will come to Korea in 2013 (an increase of 5,000 laborers over 2012)". migrantok.org. 
  25. ^ "MigrantWorkers Center :: View topic – South Korea increases minimum wage for workers". migrantok.org. 
  26. ^ Olle Frödin & Anders Kjellberg (2018) Labor Migration from Third Countries to Swedish Low-wage Jobs, Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, vol. 8 no 1 (March 2018), pp. 65-85
  27. ^ "Number of migrant workers in Taiwan tops 600,000 – Society – FOCUS TAIWAN – CNA ENGLISH NEWS". 
  28. ^ Post Publishing PCL. "A rare chance to learn". bangkokpost.com. 
  29. ^ "Modern Day Slave Labor: Conditions for Abu Dhabi's Migrant Workers Shame the West". 
  30. ^ a b c "United Arab Emirates". International Trade Union Confederation. 
  31. ^ "United Arab Emirates". International Trade Union Confederation. 
  32. ^ "Conditions for Abu Dhabi's migrant workers 'shame the west'". 
  33. ^ "Call for UN to investigate plight of migrant workers in the UAE". 
  34. ^ Keane, D.; McGeehan, N. (2008). "Enforcing Migrant Workers' Rights in the United Arab Emirates". International Journal on Minority and Group Rights. 15: 81–115. doi:10.1163/138548708X272537. 
  35. ^ "Building Towers, Cheating Workers". Human Rights Watch. 11 November 2006. 
  36. ^ "Midday Break To Be Strictly Enforced". thenational.ae. 16 June 2011. 
  37. ^ "Setting A Fair Migration Agenda" (PDF). www.ilo.org. 
  38. ^ AsiaFoundation. (9 September 2015), Empowering Migrant Women as Entrepreneurs in China, Retrieved 2016-10-27.
  39. ^ a b Getano, Arianne (2015). Out to Work. United States of America: University of Hawai'i. pp. 28–45. 
  40. ^ a b c Morokvasic, Mirjana (1984). "Birds of passage are also women". International Migration Review. 18 (4): 886–907. doi:10.2307/2546066. JSTOR 2546066. PMID 12340339. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 April 2012. 
  41. ^ a b The Mosuo Sisters. Dir. by Marlo Poras. Perf. La Tsuo, Jua Ma. 2012. DVD.
  42. ^ Women Migrant Workers from Developing Countries
  43. ^ Menjívar (1999)
  44. ^ a b de Parle (2007)
  45. ^ Yeoh, Brenda S.A. (2000). Global Cities, Transnational Flows and Gender Dimensions, The View From Singapore. Department of Geography, University of Singapore: Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG. 
  46. ^ Kindler, Anneka L. (1995). "Education of Migrant Children in the United States". Directions in Language and Education. 1 (8). 
  47. ^ Davis, Mike (2006). Planet of Slums. London: Verso. 
  48. ^ Todaro, Michael P. (1969). "A Model of Labor Migration and Urban Unemployment in Less Developed Countries". The American Economic Review. 59 (1). 
  49. ^ Gupta, Indrani; Arup Mitra (2002). "Rural Migrants and Labour Segmentation: Micro-Level Evidence from Delhi Slums". Economic and Political Weekly. 37 (2). 
  50. ^ Labour Organization (ILO), International. "Migrant Workers". International Labour Standards. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  51. ^ a b Twohey, Megan. "Wanted: Foreign Workers — and the Labor Brokers Accused of Illegally Profiting from Them." Reuters. Thomson Reuters, (1–10).
  52. ^ a b c d e ""I Already Bought You"". Human Rights Watch. 22 October 2014. Retrieved 2017-05-15. 
  53. ^ "Exploited Indian workers in US awarded $14 million". mid-day. Retrieved 2017-05-15. 
  54. ^ a b c "U.S. Company To Pay $20 M To Exploited Indian Guest Workers – News India Times". www.newsindiatimes.com. Retrieved 2017-05-15. 
  55. ^ a b "Highlands Ranch man sentenced to 11 years in human trafficking case – The Denver Post". Retrieved 2017-05-15. 
  56. ^ a b c d e f "Jury finds Kalu guilty of human trafficking – The Denver Post". Retrieved 2017-05-15. 
  57. ^ a b c d e "Filipino Workers Urge Overhaul of U.S. Guest Worker Policies Inter Press Service". www.ipsnews.net. Retrieved 2017-05-15. 
  58. ^ a b c Landesman, Peter. 2004. The Girls Next Door. New York Times Magazine
  59. ^ "Human Rights and Migrant Workers". Shulamith Koenig. Retrieved 30 August 2013.  first1= missing last1= in Authors list (help)
  60. ^ (Rosales 4)
  61. ^ Rosales, Monica S. "Life in the Field: Migrant Farm Workers' Perceptions of Work Related Injuries." Colorado State University, 2008. United States – Colorado: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT). Web. 7 November 2013.
  62. ^ Seow, Joanna. "Most migrant South Asian workers face mental health issues as they await claims settlement". Straits Times. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  63. ^ a b c Deshingkar & Grimm (2005)


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