In 2005, the nations of the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC), which consist of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, housed over 12 million international migrants. Employed mainly within the service and construction industries, these foreign workers have become a demographic majority in some GCC countries, creating an urgent need for more progressive immigration and equitable integration policies. This article provides an overview of migration to the region, situating it within the larger global emigration/immigration context. By focusing on the various stages of migration and the economic role played by migrants, the article argues for policies that protect the economic, social and political rights of labour migrants. It concludes with recommendations that consider conditions in both the GCC and migrants' countries of origin.