Report | Immigration · Global Worker Rights

International Labor Migration: A Vision for Shared Prosperity

There are some 232 million migrants in the world, with the overwhelming majority migrating for work. They often travel long distances to support their families, improve their income and build a better life. As the economies of many origin and destination countries have come to rely on migrant workers and their remittances, politicians and corporate interests have sought to “manage” the movement of migrants like everyday commodities in temporary, seasonal and circular migration programs. Supporters of these programs claim they provide migrants the ability to migrate safely, for a specified period of time, and improve their household income with higher wages and remittances. In reality, these programs mainly serve employer interests by providing a flexible, disposable workforce without adequate protections, without a voice at work and without permanent settlement options. Thus, migrant workers often find themselves in a captive and temporary employment relationship, within a system fraught with shockingly common forms of abuse on both ends of the migration experience. But there are alternatives. This policy statement articulates a vision of labor migration that would promote shared prosperity by lifting up and empowering workers in both origin and destination countries.

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