Research Area:

Guest worker migration – the acceptance of migrant workers on a temporary basis combined with the expectation of these workers returning back to their home countries after some time – is a long standing practice in the history of labour migration. Canada, and many other countries, including increasingly emerging economies in the Global South, have adopted and quickly expanded temporary migrant labour programs in recent years. Many of these programs actively prevent migrant workers from applying and receiving permanent residence and work permits. Instead, these programs threaten non-complying migrants with detention and forced return (deportation). There are rising controversies over such programs that are suspected of coercing migrant workers into a docile labour force. Moreover, a recent development is that some of these programs are carried out increasingly by the private sector and international organizations, with low or almost no involvement of states, political oversight and public awareness.