What is visa trading? Why would sponsors trade visas?

Visa trading refers to a situation where a migrant is sponsored for a specific work or position. Upon arrival in the destination country, the migrant worker performs a substantially different job. This is because the sponsor has unofficially “traded” or “sold” the worker’s visa to another sponsor, whom the worker now answers to informally. In some instances, this happens because the sponsor has no intention at all to really provide the intended and rightful job to the migrant worker as intended in the visa. Rather, the migrant worker is “released” into the black market to earn a living in exchange for financially compensating the sponsor.

The key distinction between the visa trading and typical irregular migration is that under visa trading, the migrant worker enters the destination country with an appropriate paperwork with the correct visa but then subsequently enters the black market. In irregular migration, the entry is illegal because it was done without the appropriate visa or travel document or done for a non-work-related purpose.