The Work Guide

Useful information about jobs and career

The Guest Worker Program

A guest worker program gives foreign people the possibility to have temporary jobs in a host country. Most of the workers who apply for this program don’t need any special abilities to obtain employment because the majority of them opt for unskilled or semi-skilled labor.

The agricultural and industrial fields are the ones that provide the largest number of jobs for foreign workers. Domestic labor is also very well paid, and that is why some people choose to leave their home land for higher-paying jobs in areas outside their country.

A guest worker program allows immigrants obtain jobs for short periods of time, so those who opt for this type of employment have to return home when their contracts expire. There have been adopted some special programs in order to avoid illegal immigration.

The Bracero program was implemented in 1942 and it was seen as a solution to ameliorate the wartime employment deficits. The agreement lasted until 1964 and it helped 4.5 million Mexicans cross the border and get documented jobs. Due to this guest worker program farm labor increased, so the wage rate decreased in this domain.

Because of the many abuses that employees had to face, the procedure didn’t last long. Ten percent from the salaries were withheld for planned pensions, but certain amounts of those money were never returned. Another unsatisfying thing had to do with the fact that workers were placed in homes that didn’t provide adequate conditions, so they couldn’t enjoy a healthy lifestyle.

The current H-2 visa program was founded on the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1953, and it offers jobs in any domain in the United States. Based on the population that the United States had, the document established a quota of immigrants per country. Later the program was divided in two, and that is how Employment Training Administration and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services appeared.

The representatives of American interests and the AFL-CIO which is the largest federation of unions, have been conducting meetings in order to release a statement regarding the new programs that needed to be implemented. The two groups agreed on the following aspects:

  • American people should have priority in obtaining jobs;
  • American companies should hire competent foreign workers because it’s not in their interest to go through inefficient procedures.
  • A professional system should report the labor needs in the United States because that way the program becomes more transparent and accurate.
 

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