International Migration Papers No. 112

Migrant workers in the international hotel industry

This paper is published jointly by the International Migration Branch of the Labour Protection Department of the ILO and by the ILO’s Sectoral Activities Department. We live in an increasingly mobile world, and it is a well-known fact that much migration today is driven by the search for employment. Indeed, most migration is linked to the world of work, in some way or other: families accompany workers to foreign countries, training and educational opportunities abroad lead into employment, changed patterns of labour force participation and social reproduction in one place set off migration flows from another, etc. However, the important links between migration and labour markets  including the quantity and quality of jobs in both origin and destination countries, and the contribution of labour market policies to growth and development  are often ignored or not well understood. This discussion paper makes a contribution in this area of research, in focussing on a particular sector, namely Hotels, catering and tourism. Our interest here is migrant workers in the international hotel industry. Hotel work is diverse and challenging at all levels, from front-line and housekeeping staff to senior management and migrant workers are represented in all areas of work within the sector across most developing and developed countries