Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



International Labour Migration – Theoretical Considerations and Evidence from the Experience of the Mediterranean Sending Countries

Author: Heiko Korner

Immediately after the end of the Second World War in 1945, most observers expected that under the pressure of thousands of displaced persons in Western Europe, traditional migration streams between Europe, on the one side, and the countries of North and South America and Oceania, on the other, would be revived. But soon this proved to be a misconception: not only were most of the refugees, but also a considerable part of the working population of southern Europe (mainly from Italy) and Algeria were absorbed by the rapidly expanding labour markets of the countries of North-Western Europe. When during the late Fiftees, the reconstruction period of the European countries came to an end, at first, France, Belgium and Switzerland, and later, the Federal Republic of Germany and Austria experienced rapid economic growth which was accompanied by a depletion of their traditional sources of the labour force. With the intention of stabilizing their economic expansion, the industrial countries of Europe sought to open up new supplies in the European periphery. As a consequence, labour-recruitment contracts were concluded, during the Sixties, between the North-Western European countries and the Mediterranean ones (Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Yugoslavia and the countries of the Maghreb) to induce the inflow of foreign labour Migrant workers were, at that time the most important growth factor in the industrialized countries of continental Europe.

Heiko Korner

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