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Rich Nations May Face a World Without Cheap Migrant Labor

Thanks to the coronavirus, workers are headed home or stranded abroad. Will they return when the pandemic is over?

Workers take a break at a construction site in Dubai in 2019. 

Workers take a break at a construction site in Dubai in 2019. 

Photographer: Christopher Pike/Bloomberg

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Romanian home-care workers in Italy. Indian construction crews in Dubai. Filipino maids and cooks in Singapore. The world’s wealthy economies depend on a steady flow of cheap labor from lower-income nations. And people in those nations often rely on remittances from family members working abroad.