Migrant Agricultural Workers and Their Socio-­‐economic, Occupational and Health Conditions– A Literature Review

Research output: Working paper


This study provides the summary of current knowledge about migrant work in agriculture available from journal articles, books, reports and other relevant academic publications, focusing on political, economic, legal, social and medical aspects of migrant work in agriculture.

A systematic search was carried out on the LibHub and Google Scholar databases in order to compile the existing peer-reviewed publications, research reports, and policy papers concerning migrant work in agriculture. The literatures was selected through the following process: (1) reading the title and abstract in English for the period 1960 – 2011; (2) reading the entire text of selected articles; (3) making a manual search of the relevant quotations in the selected articles; (4) eliminating articles without a focus on migrant populations and the themes of central interest, and then reading and analyzing the definitive set of articles.

In spite of their varying geographical focus, scope, unit of analysis and settings, most of the studies reviewed highlighted that migrant farmworkers work under very poor working conditions and face numerous health and safety hazards, including occupational chemical and ergonomic exposures, various injuries and illnesses and even death, discrimination and social exclusion, poor pay and long working hours, and language and cultural barriers. Many studies also reported poor enforcement of labour regulations and a lack of health and safety training on the farms, difficulty accessing medical care and compensation when injured or ill.

The studies have also pointed out the lack of research in relation to labour, health, psychosocial, and wage conditions of migrant farmworkers. The accumulated results of the study indicate that the issues and problems migrant farmworkers face are multidimensional, and there is a need for both policy development and further research in order to address migrant workers’ problems.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law and Society
  • Work Sciences


  • Migration, work environment, agriculture, health of migrant workers, human rights and migration, pesticides, occupational injuries, migrant farmworkers, occupational safety and agriculture, labour migration
Original languageEnglish
PublisherSocial Science Research Network
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameSSRN Working Papers series

Bibliographic note

Submitted to Journal of Agromedicine

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