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The US Continues to be the Land of Opportunity for Foreign Temporary Workers
Mar 21, 2003

The most recent report on Trends in International Migration issued by the OECD and available for purchase from the OECD Online bookshop shows that the US continues to allow the largest inflow of temporary workers among OECD countries. During 2000, the latest year reported, over five hundred thousand temporary workers were allowed into the US labor market. About 350 thousand were highly skilled workers and only 33 thousand were seasonal workers. Of the highly skilled workers only 91 thousand were specialists from NAFTA countries.

France remains the OECD country that places more restrictions to foreign temporary workers. In 2000 France allowed just over 15 thousand workers into the French labor market according to the OECD. Over half of these workers were seasonal workers. Germany remains the second destination for temporary workers. In 2000 over 300 thousand temporary foreign workers entered were given permission to work in Germany. Well over half of these workers were seasonal workers in unskilled activities.

The UK was the third most important destination of temporary workers in 2000. Over 130 thousand foreign workers entered the UK. However, only a limited number were seasonal or low skill labor.

The report shows that countries follow very different migration policies, and almost all OECD countries place high restrictions on temporary labor services providers. Countries which exercise more open and clearly regulated labor policies can manage labor flows more efficiently and make up for labor shortages more effectively according to the report. The regulation of migration flows can limit illegal migration and curb false asylum seeking flows.

The OECD Trends Migration Reports 2002 shows a number of effective policies to manage migration while also allowing for foreign inflows to meet the needs of domestic labor markets.

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