Arwen Joyce


A temporary migrant worker programme (TMWP) is a collection of laws, regulations and policies through which a receiving state regulates the entry, stay and treatment of low-wage temporary migrant workers. Workers in such programmes are generally undertaking ‘temporary migration projects’, that is, they are working abroad for a finite period of time in order to improve their status and welfare at home. The availability of low-cost labour generally entrenches demand for such workers in the receiving state’s labour market and therefore the receiving state has an interest in continuing to attract them. In order to do so, workers must be able to successfully complete their temporary migration projects. However, TMWP policies often create opportunities for exploitation and disempowerment related to low-wage temporary migrant workers’ precarious residence status, weak financial position and dependence on their employers, that jeopardise the normative defensibility and sustainability of such programmes. This paper argues that conventional labour law remedies are not sufficient to enable workers to successfully complete their temporary migration projects. The underlying purpose of labour law and the limitations of its application to this group of workers is considered along with the sources of their vulnerability in order to assess appropriate policy reforms. This paper concludes that in order to make TMWPs more sustainable and normatively justifiable, receiving states should address the root causes of low-wage temporary migrant workers’ vulnerability when formulating TMWP laws and policies.


labour migration; labour law; temporary migrant workers

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Direitos autorais 2019 Arwen Joyce

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Esta obra está licenciada sob uma licença Creative Commons Atribuição 4.0 Internacional.


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