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Rural Migration Blog

April 2021

Lessons from Guest Worker Programs

Guest worker programs aim to add workers temporarily to the labor force without adding permanent residents to the population. Most countries have hire-local-workers-first policies, so they limit foreign workers to jobs that cannot be filled by local workers. Most 20th century programs were begun as temporary bridges to a future when guest workers would no longer be needed, as with Mexican Braceros in the US during WWII or Gastarbeiter in Germany in the 1960s.

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Migration and Development: The 3 R’s

Economic development, defined as increasing the standard of living for most individuals in a community and measured by a country’s average per capita income, ranged from under $500 per person in Burundi and Sudan to over $185,000 per person in Monaco in 2019, according to the World Bank. US per capita income was $65,000, and Mexico’s per capita income was $9,800.

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