International Migration and Work: Charting an Ethical Approach to the Future

Donald Kerwin
Date of Publication: 
March, 2020
Source Organization: 
Center for Migration Studies

This paper explores the future of work, international migration, and the intersection of the two at a time of rapid change, uncertainty and disruption for migrants, laborers, their families and communities. It draws on human rights principles, international law and religious values, particularly from the Catholic tradition, to chart an ethical approach to the governance of these timeless phenomena. The author puts forward 12 policy recommendations to ensure worker and migrant rights are protected and that societies as a whole prepare for the disruptive changes in the labor market. Among the recommendations: as economies are transformed by automation, artificial intelligence, and robotization, governments should “not privatize work-related decisions or cede them to market forces;” the social safety net should be extended to all migrants and benefits should be made portable from country to country; lifelong learning opportunities should be extended to all workers to allow them to adapt to rapid change; societies should remove antiquated credentialing and hiring policies that discriminate against migrants; and governments should commit to inclusive and enforced labor standards that cover all workers, including those in the informal economy. This paper was written for the International Catholic Migration Commission as part of a two-year initiative entitled “The Future of Work, Labour after Laudato Sì.”

Download now or view online.


Kerwin, D. (2020, March 16). International migration and work: Charting an ethical approach to the future. Center for Migration Studies.