A foreign worker is a person who works in a country other than the one of which he or she is a citizen. Migrant workers may follow work within their own country or between countries, depending on which definition is used. Some foreign workers are present temporarily and legally through a guest worker program in a country with more preferred job prospects than their home country. Some are illegal immigrants. Foreign workers temporarily reside in the country in which they work, and will often send most or all wages earned, back to their country of origin.
Foreign workers by country
In Canada, foreign nationals are accepted into Canada on a temporary basis for a number of reasons, including student visas, refugee claims, or under special permits. The largest category however is called the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), under which workers are brought to Canada by their employers for specific jobs.  In 2006, there were a total of 265,000 foreign workers in Canada. Amongst those of working age, there was a 118% increase from 1996. By 2008, the intake of non-permanent immigrants (399,523, the majority of whom are TFWs), had overtaken the intake of permanent immigrants (247,243).
Green card workers are individuals who have requested and received legal permanent residence in the United States and who intend to work in the United States on a permanent basis via a guest worker program.
Sometimes, a host country sets up a program in order to invite guest workers, as did the Federal Republic of Germany from 1955 until 1973, when over one million guest workers (German: Gastarbeiter) arrived, mostly from Italy, Spain and Turkey.
Current estimates on the total number of international foreign workers stand at about 25 million, with a comparable number of dependents accompanying them. An estimated 14 million foreign workers live in the United States, which draws most of its immigrants from Mexico, including 4 or 5 million undocumented workers. It is estimated that around 5 million foreign workers live in Northwestern Europe, half a million in Japan, and around 5 million in Saudi Arabia.
The term can refer to professional experts, blue collar workers, language teachers, as well as entertainers.
||This section is written like a personal reflection or opinion essay rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (August 2012)|
Although there have been disagreements over immigration in the broader sense (the current system facilitated with green cards). Most controversy in the United States since 1990 has been in regard to "guest workers" both legal and illegal.
In recent years in the United States, there has been much controversy over whether H-1B visas (a particular instance of guest worker), intended to bring highly skilled workers to fill gaps in the domestic labor pool, are instead being used to bring in skilled, but otherwise unexceptional, economic migrants as cheap labor to fill jobs that could readily be filled domestically. There is much controversy over pending legislation that would allow unskilled labor to enter the country for this same reason. On the other hand there are some skilled workers who are paid meagerly compared to their American counterparts who usually absorb the work done by these foreign workers. Once, they have the work absorbed, they are usually laid-off or isolated. A lot of these skilled laborers are abused by restrictions imposed by the immigration process.
Foreign students coming into the US may also be guest workers. They may face large salary differences until obtaining their green card, since their visa is only company-specific. Moreover, they are barred from many high-profile jobs where citizenship is a prerequisite.
Again, specific to the H-1B visas,countries such as India, and the Philippines have long experienced a brain drain of highly skilled workers to more economically stable and competitive countries like the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Spain, Portugal, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Germany, and Australia. While the absolute number of such émigrés are not large, the economic implications of such very skilled workers are significant.
Sometimes, citizens of countries with heavily urbanized areas have migrated to more agrarian countries in order to find jobs as farmers and such. For more on this, see migrant workers.
In certain less tolerant nations, foreign workers may be abused and treated as second-class citizens by the governments and/or lack of unions to assert worker rights, although a counterargument could be made in that foreigners do not deserve to be treated as full citizens as long as they are accorded basic human rights and civil liberties. For instance, in many Asian nations, it is common for employers to withhold passports from their employees, thus preventing the foreign worker from returning home. In conjunction with the withholding of salaries, it is meant to put the foreign workers in very difficult situation (particularly because the laws of these countries are typically not sympathetic to foreigners in practice). In the UK, organisations such as Kalayaan protect the rights of UK migrant domestic workers. (The term "migrant domestic worker" is a standardized term, where the word "domestic" is taken to mean "within the home," rather than its more prevalent meaning of being of or belonging to a particular sovereign state.)
- Body Shops
- Bracero program (historical American guest-worker program)
- Foreign Worker Visa
- Gastarbeiter (historical German guest-worker program)
- Guest worker program (a proposed foreign-worker program in the U.S.)
- Labor shortage
- Lavoie v. Canada (a Canadian Supreme Court case ruling on foreign worker status)
- Mercenary (military guest worker)
- Schengen Agreement (an EU agreement to open borders)
- Third Country National
- Sharma, Nandita. Home Economics: Nationalism and the Making of 'Migrant Workers' in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006
- Knox, Paul; Agnew, John; McCarthy, Linda (2003). The Geography of the World Economy (4th ed.). London: Hodder Arnold. ISBN 0-340-80712-1.
- ———. Moving Here, Staying Here: The Canadian Immigrant Experience. Web exhibition. Library and Archives Canada.
- Ness, Immanuel (2011) Guest Workers and Resistance to U.S. Corporate Despotism Urbana: University of Illinois Press. ISBN ISBN 978-0252078170
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Foreign workers.|
- How to hire seasonal foreign workers under J-1 visa? Reasons seasonal employers hire foreign workers
- Foreign workers in Malaysia - News update
- Expatriates Magazine - Printed Publication for Foreign Workers in France
- The PBS newsmagazine NOW focuses on America's "Guest Workers" including interviews with actual guest workers who work in Montana's forests
- Bitter Harvest on abuse of H-2A Guest Workers in Washington State
- Burma Migrant Worker Issues
- Migrant labor activism in New York City from Dollars & Sense magazine
- Migrant Workers Television(MWTV) in Seoul Korea
- December 18 vzw - International Advocacy and Resource Center on Migrant Workers Rights
- Procedure for recruitment of foreign workers in Singapore
- Migrante International
- No One is Illegal
- Global Culture: essay on migrant workers
- Migrant Farmworkers and Their Children
- Payroll Tax Benefits for Employers Hiring J1 Foreign Workers. Savings Calculator
- A gift from heaven A short film on Thai workers in Israel
- "Guest Workers" and U.S. Unemployment - essay and video by Dan Rather