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Migrant Workers in the International Hotel Industry

Baum, Thomas (2012) Migrant Workers in the International Hotel Industry. Working paper. International Labour Organization, Geneva.

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Abstract

The migrant workers’ presence in the hotel industry has the potential to benefit host countries and employers at destination in bringing new skills, knowledge and innovation as well as a competitive advantage to many companies. Migrant workers can also benefit from their migration experience via higher earnings (wage gaps between the country of origin and destination) as well as the acquisition of skills (technical, occupational and soft skills). However, many migrant workers accept low paid and casual work; their employment is oftentimes seasonal. Segmentation of the labour market, stereotyping and discrimination make the foreign(-born) workforce more vulnerable than the local one. Especially where migrant workers have little or no education or training, they face a heightened risk of exploitation. Training opportunities are therefore crucial for migrant workers. As stressed at the Global Dialogue Forum on New Developments and Challenges in the Hospitality and Tourism Sector that was held at the ILO in November 2010, “the future HCT workforce will have greater diversity of gender, ethnic background and age profile. To be effective, approaches to skills development for the sector should be part of long-term national growth strategies so that skills development, the industry’s HR needs and overall national labour market policies are linked”.