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Managing Labour Migration in the 21st Century


The challenge

Labour markets are transforming around the world due to increasing use of automation and artificial intelligence, the offshoring of production units to low-wage countries, and the intensification of international trade and global supply chains. The mobility of goods and labour now happens in many directions. More attention needs to be given to the ‘global race for talent’ as it unfolds after the Covid-19 pandemic, and the related demographic and economic implications. Despite increased mobility and interconnectedness, immigration policies at main destination countries in Europe, North America and Australia have become increasingly restrictive and many countries have given preference to temporary migration schemes. As we recover from the global pandemic, questions arise with a sense of increased urgency: Is this migration approach sustainable? Do destination countries really benefit from temporary migration and how well do migrants and their families fare under such arrangements? Lastly, how do new digital technology developments impact the labour market trajectories of migrant workers?


Our research focus

The outcome of labour market transformation has varying effects in different regions around the world. Our research focus addresses emerging trends such as:

  • The increasing reliance on temporary migrants in Canada, with a focus on temporary migrant worker and international student transitions to permanent residency status, and their labour market integration process. (Marshia Akbar)
  • The policies and practices that shape the relationship between migrant skills, technology and innovation in Canada, with a focus on the Start-up Visa and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. (Stein Monteiro)
  • The hurdles in labour market integration experienced by recently arrived migrants and refugees, and also their strategies of resilience with a focus on the pandemic emergency. (Maggie Perzyna, Claire Ellis)
  • We are particularly interested in the role of employment in the gig economy in shaping newcomer labour market integration. (Laura Lam, Anna Triandafyllidou)
  • The impact of contract-based circular temporary labour migration from South and Southeast Asia to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries on migrant workers and their families. We examine the interaction between state policies/practices and migration brokers in regulating flows and question the sustainability of such migration regimes. (Richa Shivakoti)


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Related events and videos

Nicola Piper on labour migration

Monica Boyd on Gender Imbalance in Migration