Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 6-1-2021

Publication Title

Do guest worker programs give firms too much power?

Publisher Name

IZA World of Labor


Guest worker programs allow migrants to work abroad legally, and offer benefits to workers, firms, and nations. Guest workers are typically authorized to work only in specific labor markets, and are sponsored by, and must work for, a specific firm, making it difficult for guest workers to switch employers. Critics argue that the programs harm host country citizens and permanent residents (“existing workers”), and allow employers to exploit and abuse vulnerable foreign-born workers. Labor market institutions, competitive pressures, and firm strategy contribute to the effects of migration that occur through guest worker programs.




Author Posting. © Peter Norlander, 2021. This is posted here by permission of Institute for the Study of Labor for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in IZA World of Labor 2021: 484 doi: 10.15185/izawol.484

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.