The number of people leaving their homes and crossing national borders has increased in recent decades. Today, there is an estimated 232 million migrants globally, half of whom work, and this number is anticipated to continue to increase. The migrant workforce is mixed, containing young unskilled workers, highly skilled and educated workers, and latterly females. Migrant workers from developing countries have a tendency to segment into jobs at the bottom and top of the occupational hierarchy, whereas professional migrants habitually move from one wealthy country to another. The literature is mixed about whether migrant workers experience more work -related injuries than their native-born counterparts and little is known about their exposure to carcinogens and/or other workplace hazards and whether that varies with that of their native-born counterparts. Drawing on the findings from the international literature and several studies comparing exposure to workplace hazards between migrant and native-born workers in Australia, I will address why and how migrant workers are vulnerable to adverse working conditions and how this impacts on their occupational health and safety.
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