Standard Article

Regularization programs

Migration A–Z


  1. Pia M. Orrenius and Madeline Zavodny

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm437

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

Zavodny, P. M. O. a. M. 2013. Regularization programs. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013


Unauthorized immigration is the fastest growing form of international migration, with an estimated 2.5 to 4 million migrants crossing international borders without authorization each year (Sunderhaus 2007). As of 2005, the global stock of unauthorized immigrants was estimated at 30 to 40 million (Papademetriou 2005a). Unauthorized immigration presents both benefits and challenges to host countries. Unauthorized immigrants are often a flexible and relatively cheap source of labor, which benefits their employers and consumers. Challenges arise, however, when policy-makers face the need to extend labor protections and social services to these workers and their families. At this point, government authorities have to decide whether and how to allow these migrants to regularize their status. Regularization programs for unauthorized immigrants have occurred in many countries in the post-World War II period. This chapter offers an overview of those programs and their effects.


  • immigration;
  • labor;
  • labor supply;
  • social policy;
  • International Law