Temporary Worker Schemes in the
Over the last 2-3 years, there has been both an expansion
in the number of work permits granted for foreign workers in the
UK, and the introduction of new work permit schemes for highly-skilled
workers and specific sectors (currently the hospitality and food
processing sector). These schemes have been designed to meet the
needs of the UK labour market, and might therefore be expected to
have positive outcomes for the UK. However, the way that these schemes
are designed will also impact on the balance of costs and benefits
both for the migrants themselves, and for their countries of origin.
Historically, there has been much scepticism
about temporary worker schemes from the point of view of migrants
and countries of origin. Concerns have been raised that they effectively
create a Çreserve army of labourÁ in which the social costs of education
and welfare are displaced to developing countries. Meanwhile, measures
to ensure the return of workers at the end of temporary contracts
are seen by some as contrary to principles of human rights. However,
the balance of costs and benefits is not clear cut, with significant
flows of remittances and the potential for positive impacts on human
capital formation and trade holding out hope that the net balance
for developing countries could be favourable.
Key Research Questions
||What have been the impacts (or, what are
the likely impacts) of UK temporary worker schemes for developing
||Focusing on low-skill recruitment in particular
(for agriculture, food processing, hotel and catering and the
care sector), what adjustments to existing schemes could be
recommended that would enhance outcomes for developing countries,
and specifically for the poor?
||Could temporary worker schemes be extended
to new countries or sectors in a way that could be designed
at the outset to benefit sending countries (and especially the
poor) as well as the UK?