Monetary Mechanisms in Work Migration

This Article explores the institutional role monetary mechanisms play, or could play, in work migration programs. The Article first explores the role of informal recruitment fees in this context. Those fees are commonly paid by temporary, low-skilled migrants to private recruiters and labor brokers to facilitate their legal and documented admission to the host country. In practice, in addition to financially benefitting informal middlemen, such fees improve the screening process of migrant candidates by inducing self-selection. Migrants that expect to sustain successful employment are more likely to assume the burden of borrowing money to afford the upfront fees. Understanding this institutional role is important for the design of any reform proposal that seeks to eliminate these otherwise costly and exploitative fees. The Article then analyzes different monetary bond and reward models and the ways in which they can address the screening and enforcement challenges that are created by the structure of guest worker programs and exacerbated by fees. Acknowledging the virtues as well as the limitations of monetary regulation in the context of work migration calls for further creative thinking about institutional design in this field. 

56 Colum. J. Transnat'l L. 750