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December 1998, Volume 5, Number 12

The Americas

Central America: Hurricane Mitch
Hurricane Mitch, which killed 10,000 people in Honduras and Nicaragua in late October 1998, left three million people homeless, and severely damaged

INS: Smuggling, Sanctions, Asylum
Smuggling. After a year-long investigation, the INS on November 20 announced the arrest of 21 members of a ring that, over the last three years,

Mexico: Voting, Remittances, NAFTA
Voting. An expert's report commissioned by the Federal Electoral Institute and released on November 12 concluded that it is technically feasible to

INS: Asylum, LA-8
Asylum-LA Eight. On November 4, the US Supreme Court heard arguments in the 11-year-old case of eight Palestinians whom the INS tried to deport in

Canadian Citizenship Legislation
Citizenship. The Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration will submit to Parliament legislation that would tighten residency requirements to

Elections, Population, Education
Latinos cast about five percent of the votes in the November 1998 election, up from four percent in 1992. Less than half of the 28 million US

Florida, Haiti
Miami-Dade County, the self-proclaimed Gateway to Latin America, has been losing about one US-born white for each immigrant it attracts. The

H-1B Workers
The American Competitiveness and Work Force Improvement Act, which will increase the number of H-1B non-immigrant visas by 142,500 over the next

Economy: US, California
US. The US unemployment rate was 4.6 percent in October 1998; it has been below five percent since July 1997. There were 132 million US workers


Asian Development Outlook
The 1998 Asian Development Outlook report includes a chapter on population and human resources that explores the question posed by MIT economist Paul

Japan: Illegals, Foreign Workers
The Japanese Labor Minister reported on November 21 that growth in the number of foreign workers slowed in 1998, a result of the recession. As of

Malaysia: Illegals Out, New Workers In
On November 1, the Malaysian government announced that it had extended to November 15 an October 31 deadline to allow illegal Indonesian migrants to

Hong Kong: Domestic Workers
There are 140,000 Filipino domestic helpers in Hong Kong, including 30,000 who are members of the Filipino Migrant Workers Union. Several members of

Thailand Foreign Workers
More Thais are seeking overseas jobs because of high unemployment at home, but stiff competition is increasing the fees they must pay. The Thai

Singapore will require all foreign construction workers to pass a basic skills test before they can enter the country to work. The government hopes

Korea: Foreigners, Illegals
There were 291,816 foreigners in Korea in August 1998, including 84,637 Chinese (mostly ethnic Koreans who arrived as trainees), 51,579 Americans and

South Asia
India and Bangladesh in November 1998 failed to resolve a dispute over the alleged illegal migration of tens of thousands of Bangladeshi nationals to


The European Commission in mid-October 1998 released a report urging EU governments to do more to create jobs to raise the employment rate (the

Germany: Citizenship, Asylum
Germany had a net migration of 750,000 in 1997, according to new Interior Minister Otto Schily, giving Germany about 7.5 million foreigners in late

Italy: Migrants, Amnesty, PKK
Migrants continued to stream into Italy across the Adriatic: 10,000 asylum seekers were processed in the Italian province of Lecce between January

UK: Smuggling, Asylum
Smuggling. Foreigners continue to slip into trucks that are ferried to the UK, and the UK government continues to debate how best to deal with the

France: More Amnesty?
Prime Minister Lionel Jospin in November announced that 80,000 illegal immigrants who had family in France or sought to integrate into French society

Eastern Europe
Czech Republic. The Czech attorney general's office announced on November 12 that it will crack down on organized gangs who smuggle illegal

Belgium: No Amnesty
The Belgian government in November rejected calls to legalize 30,000 to 40,000 illegal migrants, six weeks after the interior minister resigned over

Greece, Cyprus
In November, Greece, a country of 10 million with an estimated 500,000 illegal foreign residents, was rocked by a scandal involving Greek police

Netherlands: Asylum Seekers
The government of the Netherlands announced in mid-November that it will return more than 1,000 rejected asylum seekers to northern Iraq, northern


Prime Minister John Howard announced on November 20 that he will reintroduce controversial legislation to limit the right of migrants to appeal

Africa: Illegal Immigrants
Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone rescinded an order to deport foreign nationals who failed to obtain valid residence or work permits by October 15, 1998.

Iran has provided refuge to two million refugees over the past decade, more than any other country, and it generally permits refugees to live and

Middle East
The governments of many Gulf nations are attempting to reduce dependence on foreign workers, but employers continue to request them and the

Israel and Palestinian Workers
On November 21, Israeli and Palestinian representatives discussed a plan for the employment of 140,000 licensed Palestinian workers in Israel. Most