International Labor and Working-Class History

Migrant Workers in the Middle East

Project-Tied Labor Migration from Turkey to the MENA Region: Past, Present, and Future

Ahmet İçduygua1 and Deniz Serta1

a1 Koç University, Istanbul


The geographic region of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) comprises one of the most fascinating immigration regions of the world, hosting millions of migrants and receiving thousands of new migrants each year. While the panorama of MENA's immigration arena is extremely diverse, this article aims to investigate project-tied, or contract-based, labor migration from Turkey, which occurs mostly through the long-established work of Turkish companies that engage in various construction and service-sector businesses. Taking the analytical context of migration system theory into consideration, the main aim of this essay is twofold: while it attempts to document the dynamics and mechanisms of contract-based labor migration from Turkey to the MENA countries, it also intends to elaborate on research about migratory systems between Turkey and the MENA region, mainly referring to macro-level factors affecting the relevant migration system.

(Online publication May 17 2011)