John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
While labor migration has demonstrated numerous benefits—such as the economic development of sending and receiving states—it also carries hefty costs to those who cross borders for employment. Migrant workers are vulnerable to economic shocks, exploitation and human rights abuses, to name a few. In response to these dynamics, a variety of state and private sector institutions have emerged, forming migration infrastructures (or systems) that facilitate the movement and welfare protection of transnational workers. Examples include government regulatory departments, recruitment agencies, and state supported mechanisms for redress, etc. Different policies within sending and receiving countries conflict making it difficult for all parties involved to enjoy the full benefits of international labor. To effectively address this transnational issue, multi-state collaboration is necessary to develop transnational solutions. As the primary United Nations' (UN) specialized agency for the protection of the labor rights of migrant workers, the International Labour Organization (ILO) is in a prime position to facilitate these efforts. In this spirit, the ILO has commissioned this policy analysis exercise (PAE) to examine how designated case study governments are managing the temporary migration and employment contracts of low-skilled workers; and how these labor migration infrastructures influence the protection of overseas workers from pre-departure to employment abroad. Answering these questions should provide insight into whether higher migration infrastructures—in the sending and receiving state—lead to better protection of overseas workers.
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