Hesperian Health Guides

Hesperian Health Guides

Chapter 23: Workers who migrate

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HealthWiki > Workers' Guide to Health and Safety > Chapter 23: Workers who migrate


a man and a boy looking across a river at a big, polluting factory where a sign reads, "Life is so GOOD here!!"

Many men, women, and children move to different cities or countries in search of better jobs, wages, and opportunities for themselves and their families. What they often find are new challenges and risks. Although they work as hard or harder than other workers, people who migrate face discrimination inside and outside the factory, legally and illegally, in ways that ultimately hurt all workers, not just migrants.

Like other workers, migrant workers deserve and need:

  • safe living and working conditions, and a living wage
  • access to health care, social services, and education, for themselves and their families
  • the right to organize in unions, with materials in their own language
  • freedom from violence and threats of displacement or deportation


Most important, people should have the right not to migrate, to stay in their ancestral homes, participate in the social and political life of their regions, and find ways to make a decent living in the place they or their families were born.