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Types of Migration
Internal Migration
Global Labour Mobility
Child Migration
Skilled Migration
Forced Migration
Return Migration

Key Themes
Modelling Causes
and Consequences
Links between Migrations
Rural Poverty and Livelihoods
Social Protection
Gender and Generations
Health and Education

UK / international
Albania / Eastern Europe
Ghana / Africa
Egypt / the Middle East
Bangladesh and
South Asia




Project 8c
Temporary Worker Schemes in the UK

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 countries?
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?



Type(s) of Migration
Global Labour Mobility

UK and International


Richard Black

Richard Black (Sussex)
Catherine Barber (Oxfam)
Paula Tenaglia (Sussex)

Key activity

A workshop on this theme will be held in June 2004.

Key Outputs

A policy paper
A policy breifing


  © University of Sussex 2003 Text-Only
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With thanks to IOM and Claudia Natali for the photographs