Temporary Foreign Work Permits: honing the tools to defeat human smuggling
We study how temporary visa schemes can be designed to drive smugglers out of business while meeting labor market needs in host countries. After discussing their compatibility with a large range of policy objectives, we show how combining internal and external controls with a regulated market for temporary visas alleviates the policy trade-off between migration control and ending human smuggling. We use information on irregular migration from Senegal to Spain and the Democratic Republic of Congo to South Africa to calibrate the "eviction" prices of visas for these two routes, which are set to throttle smuggling activities. Our results highlight important constraints for governments seeking to prevent temporary workers from overstaying, especially on South-North routes such as Senegal to Spain. They suggest combining a regulated market for visas with tighter sanctions against employers of undocumented workers as a way forward.