The return of the guest worker? Temporary migration programmes in theory and practice

Overview Methods Outputs
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The aims of this research project was to contribute to current debates about the potential of temporary migration programmes (TMPs) for helping to manage international labour migration in a way that is both practical and sensitive to the interests of receiving countries, migrants and their countries of origin. The research involved discussions of the economic and normative issues arising from temporary migration programmes; the policy lessons from past and existing TMPs; proposals of ‘innovative’ policy designs that are intended to help avoid past policy mistakes; and the rights that migrants admitted under a TMPs should have and how they can be best protected. A key theme explored in this project is the trade-off between financial gains from employment abroad and the restriction of rights in the host country that migrants typically experience under a TMP.

Principal Investigator

Martin Ruhs


Economic and Social Research Council
Global Commission on International Migration
International Organisation for Migration
International Labour Organisation