When Migrants Overstay Their Legal Welcome: A Proposed Solution to the Guest-Worker Program

34 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2004

See all articles by Maurice Schiff

Maurice Schiff

Fellow, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Date Written: November 2004

Abstract

A number of developed countries have implemented guest-worker programs in recent decades. Its basic feature is the temporary presence of the foreign guest-workers. The problem with such programs is that there is little to prevent these guest-workers from entering the illegal job market and overstaying their legal welcome, which is the reason why these programs became unpopular over time. This paper argues that a well-designed guest-worker program could be acceptable to host countries and could be beneficial for all parties concerned. It presents a host country immigration policy that tries to achieve these objectives by raising the likelihood that guest-workers return to their home country when the permissible time period elapses, and that reduces the number of immigrants entering the country illegally. The policy has three components and is based on legal responsibility by the guest-workers, new insurance markets, and cooperation with the sending country or countries.

Keywords: guest-worker program, illegal immigration, policy design, cooperation

JEL Classification: F20, F22, J61

Suggested Citation

Schiff, Maurice W., When Migrants Overstay Their Legal Welcome: A Proposed Solution to the Guest-Worker Program (November 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=622684

Maurice W. Schiff (Contact Author)

Fellow, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

Bonn
Germany

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