Chapter

Migrant Workers: Who Needs Them? A Framework for the Analysis of Staff Shortages, Immigration, and Public Policy

Bridget Anderson and Martin Ruhs

in Who Needs Migrant Workers?

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199580590
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595257 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199580590.003.0002
Migrant Workers: Who Needs Them? A Framework for the Analysis of Staff Shortages, Immigration, and Public Policy

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This chapter provides a comprehensive conceptual framework for evaluating employer demand for migrant labour in high‐income countries. It discusses four key issues that, the chapter argues, are fundamental to the analysis of shortages, immigration, and public policy: (i) the characteristics, dimensions, and determinants of employer demand for labour (What are employers looking for?); (ii) characteristics of and segmentations in labour supply (Who does what?); (iii) employers' recruitment practices and use of migrant labour (How and whom do employers recruit?); and (iv) immigration and alternative responses to perceived staff shortages (A need for migrant labour?). The chapter suggests that in many sectors increasing employer demand for migrant workers can, to a significant degree, be explained by ‘system effects’ that ‘produce’ certain types of domestic labour shortages. System effects arise from the institutional and regulatory frameworks of the labour market and from wider public policies (e.g. welfare and social policies), many of which are not ostensibly to do with the labour market. These interact with a dynamic social context where job status and the gendered nature of work are important factors. Most of these system effects are outside the control of individual employers and workers and are heavily (but not exclusively) influenced by the state.

Keywords: labour shortages; immigration; public policy; economic downturn

Chapter.  16890 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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