Foreign Workers: Information on Selected Countries' Experiences

GAO-06-1055 Published: Sep 08, 2006. Publicly Released: Sep 15, 2006.
Jump To:
Skip to Highlights

The opportunity for employment is an important magnet attracting immigrants, including unauthorized immigrants, to countries. The policies and practices used by other countries to manage foreign workers, including actions to limit illegal immigration and to reduce the employment of unauthorized foreign workers, have been shaped by country-specific economic, demographic, and political factors. Immigration reform is a matter of continuing debate in the United States. This report examines selected countries' (1) programs for admitting foreign workers; (2) efforts to limit the employment of unauthorized foreign workers; and (3) programs for providing unauthorized immigrants with an opportunity to obtain legal status, referred to as regularization. To address these objectives, we examined reports from foreign countries, intergovernmental organizations, and research organizations. We also interviewed government officials and experts from 8 countries--Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom--and surveyed 6 other countries. We selected these countries based on their net immigration rate, population size, membership in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development or World Bank classification as high income, range of immigration policies, and geographic location.

Full Report