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Can guest worker schemes reduce illegal migration ?

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  • Amin, Mohammad
  • Mattoo, Aaditya

Abstract

The authors analyze recent efforts at international cooperation to limit illegal migration, particularly through the use of legal migration avenues like guest worker schemes. They show that while guest worker schemes may be desirable as an avenue of international migration, they are an inefficient instrument to induce cooperation on illegal migration. On the one hand, guest worker schemes suffer from a negative selection problem relative to illegal migration, which tends to erode their attractiveness to source countries. On the other hand, guest worker schemes increase total (legal and illegal) migration which make them a costly compensating device for the host country. Moreover, guest worker schemes create additional pressure on host countries to implement tough laws against illegal immigration even when the host finds such laws undesirable. Thus, less favorable treatment of illegal immigrants, as in California Proposition 187, may be an inevitable rather than incidental outcome of reliance on guest worker schemes. In contrast, countries that are willing to use transfers and other forms of economic assistance to induce source countries to cooperate can afford relatively liberal treatment of illegal immigrants.

Suggested Citation

  • Amin, Mohammad & Mattoo, Aaditya, 2006. "Can guest worker schemes reduce illegal migration ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3828, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3828
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Oliver Lorz & Karen Schaefer, 2011. "Temporary immigration visas," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 18(3), pages 291-303, June.
    2. BERNARD HOEKMAN & ÇAĞLAR ÖZDEN, 2010. "The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership: Trade in Services as an Alternative to Migration?," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48, pages 835-857, September.
    3. Omar Mahmoud, Toman & Trebesch, Christoph, 2010. "The economics of human trafficking and labour migration: Micro-evidence from Eastern Europe," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 173-188, June.
    4. Omar Mahmoud, Toman, 2010. "Shocks, income diversification and welfare in developing and transition countries," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 59754, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    5. Omar Mahmoud, Toman & Trebesch, Christoph, 2009. "The economic drivers of human trafficking: micro-evidence from five Eastern European countries," Kiel Working Papers 1480, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender and Social Development; Voluntary and Involuntary Resettlement; Anthropology; Human Migrations&Resettlements; Gender and Development;

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