I have a confession. I never really understood the difference between what a migrant worker was and an immigrant. I went to both Wiktionary.org and Dictionary.com and looked up the definitions. Here is what I found:
Migrant – 1. migrating, esp. of people; migratory. 2. Also called migrant worker. a person who moves from place to place to get work, esp. a farm laborer who harvests crops seasonally.
Immigrant – a person who migrates to another country, usually for permanent residence.
So now it is clear to me that a migrant is not seeking to stay. This person only wants to work for a defined time period and then return better off than before they left. This is strictly related to work.
Immigrants are people with plans to make a new home. Returning to where they came from is not an option. This isn’t necessarily related to work.
The NY Times ran an article titled Rising Breed of Migrant: Skilled and Welcome by Jason DeParle. The theme of the article is on higher educated professionals moving to places like Dubai and finding many benefits. The underpinning examination is how the migrant worker isn’t necessarily low skilled or servant like anymore.
DeParle uses several examples, but the one that I will emphasize is Peter Mitias, the migrant professor. Mr. Mitias is a graduate of Louisiana State and previously taught at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia before moving to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates to teach at the American University of Sharjah. This is a well educated person with in demand skills.
NY Times stats:
The analysis, by Caglar Ozden, an economist at the bank, measured movement to 20 nations, including the United States, Canada, Australia and most of Western Europe, and included people who went to college after migrating as children. Of 52 million migrant workers in those countries, 36 percent had some college education, up from 31 percent a decade before.
Of those migrants leaving one rich country for jobs in another, the number with some college education rose 30 percent. The parallel movement of less-skilled workers fell 8 percent.
"My sense is these trends have gotten much stronger since 2000," Mr. Ozden said. "Educated people are becoming more mobile."
The world economy is doing very well currently and there is opportunity for Americans to travel out of this country and find migrant work. If this economic situation continues as it is for the rest of the world, the US will benefit in terms of business and national security. A healthy world economy makes the US dominance less intimidating and more like a partner to people trying to do business. But also very important is the influence these highly skilled migrant Americans have on the citizens of the country they are residing in. It isn’t charity, its business.
So we now have American business people, similar to entrepreneurs, who are serving the people of their new locale by creating timely value for a newly economically strong country. It isn’t ridiculous to see the benefits accelerate. For most of these countries, there isn’t a current backbone in place. That means there isn’t a need to negotiate with entrenched interests. It also means that commodity products and services are more efficiently used.
So if the world economy is doing well and many of the new up and coming countries are receptive to learning about how to improve their standing in the business world, then it makes sense to continue that with greater emphasis. The US State Department used to do have a very vital role in that work and with the creation of the Homeland Security Cabinet and Department of Defense being more relevant, the State Department isn’t acting in a significant fashion. But the stats about migrant workers prove out that there is an opening to really enhance the United States position as a business idea leader. The State Department should organize these events and provide some sort of Peace Corp for the business world – Profit Corp.