Antonio Lo Faro

"Turisti e vagabondi": riflessioni sulla mobilità internazionale dei lavoratori nell'impresa senza confini

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The essay explores the temporary cross-border mobility of workers within the context of the growing internazionalization of markets and economies. The author assumes that in order to grasp the economic rationale subtending the transnational mobility of workers, a preliminary analysis is needed with the aim of pointing out the organizational dynamics taking place within the "international firm". In such a perspective, three situations in which a cross-border workers' mobility may arise are taken into consideration: a) Foreign Direct Investments; b) other forms of "contractual integration" between firms (i.e. forms of coordination and cooperation which are different from the formal corporate control or participation); c) and liberalization of services trade, both in the Wto and in the Eu. By using tools and categories derived from theory of the firm, private international law, and supranational regulation of trade, the essay tries to depict a multi-faceted panorama of transnational labour mobility, which is different form the traditional image of low-skilled workers employed by large western firms operating in disadvantaged countries. On the contrary, an analysis of the current labour mobility flows reveals that on the one hand, high-skilled workers too are increasingly affected by expatriation policies in the context of a globalized market; and that, on the other hand, the host countries where the mobility flows are directed are precisely the rich western countries where the service is provided. In this sense, the temporary transnational mobility of workers appears to be a crucial field in which the preservation of national social sovereignties is confronted with free trade policies, as is demonstrated by the intense debates surrounding the General Agreement on Trade in Services of 1994 and, more recently, the proposed Bolkestein Directive.

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