Moral problems of employing foreign workers

Aviva Geva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The employment of foreign workers is one of the most crucial problems today in the domain of work relations. Absorbing workers from abroad poses serious questions concerning the moral obligations of the employers as well as the government authorities in the migrant-receiving country. Unfortunately, the moral dilemmas of foreign labor have been largely neglected by business ethics researchers. This paper develops a conceptual framework based on the multinational corporation (MNC) ethical research to help examine the moral obligations of employers and states toward foreign workers, as opposed to citizens. The main argument is that domestic employers, who have the power to affect crucial aspects in the lives of migrant workers, incur obligations to these people and bear moral responsibility for their subsistence. As regards the host country in a universal social order based on the existence of nation-states, the employment of foreign workers poses a genuine ethical dilemma between two valid moral duties: the duty to improve the welfare of nationals and the duty to promote the interests of everyone, regardless of their nationality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-403
Number of pages23
JournalBusiness Ethics Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1999


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