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Government Responses to Foreign Worker Demand During Economic Crises

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Abstract

With the aim of developing existing theories of labour immigration policy, I focus on the question of persisting demand for foreign workers during economic downturns and how governments attempt to respond to this. The argument is that, apart from turning a blind eye to irregular labour migration, there are two ways in which governments respond to demand for migrant labour during economic hard times. First, despite a rhetorical emphasis on restricting labour immigration, they continue to facilitate the entry of highly skilled labour migrants and the employment of migrants who enter a country with a non-economic motive. Second, they encourage resident workers to take up jobs in occupations where migrant workers are concentrated. This hypothesis is borne out in my exploration of French and British government responses to foreign labour demand between 2008 and 2013.

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Author information

Correspondence to Camilla Devitt PhD in political and social sciences.

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Keywords

  • labour immigration
  • labour supply
  • policy
  • Britain
  • France
  • economic downturn