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Creating illegal immigrants


  • Avi Weiss

    () (Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University, 52900 Ramat-Gan, Israel t)

  • Arye L. Hillman

    () (Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University, 52900 Ramat-Gan, Israel t)

  • Gil S. Epstein

    () (Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University, 52900 Ramat-Gan, Israel t)


This paper considers the prospects for successful implementation by governments of guest-worker programs that are based on an intended temporary presence of foreign workers. A means of enforcement of temporary presence is a penalty imposed for overstaying the permissible time period. Employers who are obliged to post bonds for their foreign workers are provided with an incentive to ensure that their workers leave at the end of their contractually specified stay. We consider the consequences of such a bond when foreign workers can leave legal employers for illegal employment. We also investigate the effectiveness of deferred payments to foreign workers as a means of discouraging transition from legal employment to illegal presence. In the final analysis, although the policy intention is a temporary stay, we conclude that if foreign workers do not wish to return home, there is an almost inevitability to the creation of a population of illegal immigrants (whose presence may be subsequently legalized).

Suggested Citation

  • Avi Weiss & Arye L. Hillman & Gil S. Epstein, 1999. "Creating illegal immigrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 12(1), pages 3-21.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:12:y:1999:i:1:p:3-21
    Note: Received: 28 May 1997/Accepted: 6 July 1998

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    More about this item


    Illegal immigration · guest worker · employer bonds;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism


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