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Bilateral Labor Agreements (BLAs)

Research guide for locating Bilateral Labor Agreements. A BLA is any treaty that regulates the flow of workers between two countries, including amendments and additional protocols to previously signed agreements.

General Research Strategies & Tools

How would you locate the following BLAs?

  • U.S.-Mexico signed on 3/10/1947 (ID4)
  • Russia-Czech Republic signed on 6/25/1998 (ID596) [Russian Federation, or USSR/Soviet Union for older treaties]
    • Biulleten' mezhdunarodnykh dogovorov = Bulletin of International Agreements = International Treaty Bulletin = Бюллетень международных договоров 

    • Is it in the Russian treaty bulletin?

    • Is there a Czech treaty series or website it's in?

  • Russia-Finland signed in 1992 (ID647)
  • Japan-Brazil signed on 11/14/1960 (ID123)
  • Japan-West Germany signed on 11/2/1956 (ID548) [Federal Republic of Germany]
  • Japan-South Korea signed in 1999 (ID804) [Republic of Korea (ROK)]
  • France-UK signed on 7/30/1947 (ID160) [Great Britain]
  • Germany-Poland signed in 1996 (ID472)
  • Brazil-Netherlands signed on 3/6/1952 (ID114)
  • Finland-Yugoslavia signed on 5/16/1955 (ID636).

U.S.-Mexico, 3/10/1947 -->HeinOnline-->International Treaties and Agreements-->U.S. Treaties and Agreements Library--> U.S. Treaty Index (or Treaty Search tab)-->Country Name and Signing Dates--> 2 treaties signed on the same day:


Russia-Finland, 1992-->HeinOnline-->International Treaties and Agreements-->United Nations Law Collection-->Search for a Treaty (or Treaty Search) [unless you have an LNTS or UNTS citation already]-->Country Name(s) and Year-->9 search results, 1 labour policy treaty:


General Strategies & Tools

  • Is the U.S. a party? Search U.S. treaty sources.
  • Is the U.S. not a party? Search LNTS/UNTS and other international treaty sources.
  • Alternatively, search the treaty sources for countries where most readily available in English or other familiar foreign language.
  • Update the status of the BLAs & MoUs& MoAs? Look for amendments, protocols, etc.
  • Look for advanced search features, fields to limit to bilateral treaties or by labor-related subject in databases/websites
  • If only have year, and still can’t locate treaty, use background, secondary sources to obtain exact date of signing. Ditto with obtaining exact title of treaty. With extra information, you can retrace initial steps.
  • Look for law journal and scholarly/academic articles and books for citations to BLA treaty sources or more information re
  • Search foreign and international news sources (see “Newspapers By Region”), etc., for exact dates – ProQuest Global Newsstream, Factiva, FBIS Daily Reports (foreign broadcasts from 1941-1996), Google News (and Google Images) for BLAs


  • When searching:
    • If you have a citation to a treaty, use that first
    • Use Google Translate / Google Chrome to translate pages, terms on websites for languages you do not know
    • Use Google Web Search (including Advanced if needed)
    • Search Google Scholar and  Google Books
    • Search in English, and in the languages and language characters (Cyrillic for Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean characters, or Romanized titles) of the treaty parties
    • Search using variations of country names in English or original language; remember that there could be regional treaty compilations or information
    • Use variations of labor/labour and employment, workers, employees, specific industries and occupations, and foreign language equivalents (IATE, the EU’s terminology database, will give you the terms in 26 languages; Linguee does the same for 24 languages)
    • Use variations of the treaty dates depending on country and language norms
    • Varify treaty dates? Is it date of signing or some other status?
    • Keep in mind that signing date does not equal date of treaty publication; for official gazettes and treaty series, might need to use following month, next year, indexes, etc.
    • The Bluebook, Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations, etc. can be used to decipher abbreviations for treaty sources
    • Keep track of your search terms and what sources you checked
    • Save BLAs you find (and if you discover a good source for BLAs not in this guide already, let us know).
  • Check compilations of foreign and international relations documents, diplomatic affairs documents, documents of [country’s] foreign policy,  websites of ministries of foreign affairs for treaty databases
  • Look at ministry of labor websites for texts of BLAs or information thereon
  • Consult with area studies (foreign country) specialists if needed or Ask a Law Librarian.