This introductory chapter is an overview of an emerging, quintessentially modern form of international migrant—the guestworker. Guestworkers are a relatively new form of labor migrant—one designed to balance employers' desire for contingent, less expensive, and presumably pliable foreign labor and native populations' antipathy toward those same workers. Unlike immigrants who stay, settle, and in some countries naturalize, vote, and qualify for social services, guestworkers exist in a no man's land between nations; they provide labor to their host societies but often fall outside the protections of those societies' labor laws. This chapter briefly charts the history of the guestworker phenomenon beginning from World War II's labor demands, and goes on to describe the research methodology used to supply the data for the rest of this volume.
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