Skip to page content
Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Bookmark and Share

Labor Migration

Labor migration is a key component of growing and increasingly complex international migration. In addition to the large numbers of migrants who migrate specifically for employment purposes, many of those who migrate for other reasons nonetheless enter the labor market. Labor migration has implications for workers, communities and labor markets in sending and receiving countries, though the precise implications may be less clear, and may vary from place to place, and under varying conditions.

Our Strategy

ILAB promotes protection of the rights of all migrant workers, and provides expertise on labor and employment issues for U.S. government participation in a wide range of global and regional dialogues on migration. We represent the U.S. government in discussions of labor migration in the International Labor Organization, the leading international agency on labor migration. We also participate on U.S. government delegations to multilateral fora such as the UN High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, the Global Forum on International Migration and Development, and the Regional Conference on Migration.

To help workers understand and exercise their rights and address potential workplace exploitation of vulnerable populations in the U.S., ILAB facilitates the establishment of partnerships between foreign embassies and consulates in the United States and the Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Wage and Hour Division.

We also fund technical assistance projects to strengthen the capacity of countries to promote education and livelihood alternatives of migrant children and their families.


  • Promote respect for fundamental rights at work of all migrant workers, regardless of their immigration status;
  • Advocate effective enforcement of labor laws for all workers, and decrease their vulnerability to labor exploitation and human trafficking;
  • Promote U.S. government priorities related to labor migration; and
  • Share best practices for the protection of migrant workers.

Further Resources