Guestworkers in Europe: A Resurrection?



Around 1974, most Western European countries abandoned migrant labor recruitment, and introduced restrictive entry rules. Today, policymakers are reexamining temporary migrant worker programs. This article examines demographic, economic, and social pressures for labor recruitment, discusses temporary migrant worker programs in Germany and the United Kingdom, and examines the European Commission's 2005 Policy Plan for Legal Migration. Current approaches differ significantly from the past and there is no question of a general return to labor recruitment policies. However, today's policies do share some common features with past guestworker programs, and may lead to negative social outcomes in both receiving and sending countries.