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Philip Martin: Temporary Worker Programs: US and other Countries.

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Presentation on theme: "Philip Martin: Temporary Worker Programs: US and other Countries."— Presentation transcript:

1 Philip Martin: Temporary Worker Programs: US and other Countries

2 Three Topics TWPs: nothing more permanent than temporary workers US: H-1B, H-2A, H-2B programs Other countries: Are TWPs optimal compromise between no borders and no migrants extremes?

3 TWPs Purpose: add workers temporarily, not settlers Experience: Programs get larger and last longer than anticipated Why: incentives of employers and migrants--distortion and dependence

4 Distortion and Dependence Distortion: Employers rely on migrant network for recruitment and training--they lose links to local workers and labor markets Dependence: Migrants lives improve with higher wages; reducing recruitment could increase unauthorized migration

5 Migration and Development Sending workers abroad reduces poverty via remittances Do 3 Rs of recruitment, remittances, and returns speed development? –Virtuous circles between migration and development: Indian IT –Vicious circles: African health care workers –Rural migrants generally do NOT lead to stay-at- home development; instead, more migration-- internal or external?

6 Migration-development Lessons No automatic link between migration and development Receiving-country employers are the key decision makers; their preferences may clash with sending-country governments Rural migrants not likely to return, but investments in their children may speed rural- urban migration

7 US TWP Programs H-1B: Foreign professionals fill US jobs that require a college degree; 65,000/year H-2A: Foreign farm workers; no cap H-2B: Foreign low-skilled; 66,000/year At least 12 more, from E-treaty traders to J- exchange visitors to TN-NAFTA professionals

8 H-1B Professionals Purpose: Bridge labor market gaps at a time of mis-matches Trade off: easy employer access but cap of 65,000 a year; reached in 1998 IT boom, low unemployment, and increase in cap--eventually 195,000/yr 2004: cap reverts to 65,000/yr

9 H-1B Issues Is there effective DOL oversight of employers, especially body brokers? Are H-1B visa holders the worlds best and brightest? Why does the S & E labor market resemble a revolving door?

10 H-2A Certification program with no cap; 98% of employer requests approved H-2A = 3% of farm workers; unauthorized = 50% Why? Recruitment: 5% US referrals, 2% US hires

11 H-2A and AgJOBS About 60,000 H-2A workers and 1 million unauthorized AgJOBS compromise: Legalize the unauthorized, require continued farm work, and make H-2A more employer-friendly 3 changes: attestation, no housing, AEWR Canada: different starting point--not 17 unauthorized workers for every H-2A worker

12 US TWP Issues Migrants: Temporary visitors (H-2A/B) or probationary immigrants (H-1B)? Attestation versus certification: trust the employer? Other TWPs: Caps on H-1B and H-2B prompt employers to use non-DOL administered programs

13 Other Countries Estimated 100 million migrant workers and 200 bilateral labor agreements 3 major questions: how many, from where, in what status? Hard to obtain agreement on these questions in receiving countries

14 Europe: 3 Major Trends From one macro program to many micro programs (shotgun to rifle) From employment service to employers answering the 3 questions From getting workers to more goals, from cooperation on unauthorized to promoting development

15 3 Lessons for Canada Include economic mechanisms to deal with distortion and dependence Include employers and advocates in program design, and give administrators discretion Be cautious: TWPs tend to get larger and to last longer

16 Thank You More information:

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