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The Precarious Industrial Position and Vulnerabilities of Migrant Syrian Workers in Lebanon

Autor:   •  November 19, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  2,359 Words (10 Pages)  •  1,215 Views

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The Precarious Industrial position and Vulnerabilities of Migrant Syrian Workers in Lebanon

Literature Review

Migration is an integral part of many countries' economies. People continuously crossed borders looking for employment, fleeing despotic regimes or they just wanted to improve their living standards. In the last two to three decades the flow of people has grown exponentially. In the Middle East there has been large numbers of foreign workers from south Asia to various Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Many people from Eastern Europe migrated to Western Europe, searching for better work opportunities and a better lifestyle. Latin American workers continued to flock to the US to find employment and fulfill the American dream. What is becoming apparent is the host countries are generally better performing economies which attract, and potentially has the ability to soak up, growing numbers of migrants and ‘guest workers'. This has fueled an ever increasing, even from the start of this recent phenomenon, strategy formulation by host countries' governments to get a better handle on managing labour migration and, in some countries, this was pushed the issue to the top of the policy debates.

(Athukorala.P 2006) contends that governments face greater political obstacles in freeing restrictions on international labour flows than they do in liberalizing international trade and investments. In Europe, and more so in Australia, migrant workers and ‘guest workers' have mainly come to populate occupations which were heavily unionized and worked in industries which produced significant wealth for industrialists. (Quinlan and Toh, 2009) identify three characteristics of worker movement since the late eighties that is different from the 1880-1920 and the post-war worker migration between1947-1974 to North America and Australasia. First, labour migration entailed widespread movement from developing countries, such as the Philippine and south Asian workers to the Middle East or Indonesian workers to Malaysia. Second, there has been a substantial level of undocumented immigrant arrivals that policy makers in developed countries have commonly labeled as illegal immigration (Cohen, 2006, sighted in Quinlan and Toh, 2009). Third, while the post WWII wave included guest workers within Europe, most of it involved permanent migration. Yet the existing wave has an overwhelming aspect of migrant labour coming to host countries as legal temporary residents subjected to policy and regulations controls of the host countries.

In the 50s and 60s Australia, unlike in Europe, the migration phenomenon was associated with migrants bringing their families with them and settling. In Europe, work contracts were temporary and renewed yearly (Power, 1979:143-5). Many authors pointed out that this trend of guest workers of migrant workers in Western Europe has gradually

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