Academic Events

The Market Model: Immigration Regime Variation and Convergence in 30 Countries

20 November 2017

58 Banbury Road

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Speaker: Justin Gest, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government
Time: 12.30 to 13.30*
Venue: COMPAS boardroom, 58 Banbury Road

The seminar is part of the Role of European Mobility and its Impacts in Narratives, Debates and EU Reforms (REMINDER) project funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme.

After the end of the Cold War, it was believed that the world was converging towards an increasingly open, liberal, and non-discriminatory immigration system like those of Anglo-settler states, even if countries retained distinctive models. However, during the same period, an alternative vision was emerging in the Gulf Arab states—one that saw the facilitation of global movement as an economic opportunity to be exploited, and a risk to the security of national identity and sovereignty. While these two approaches exemplify different extreme types of immigration governance and have been analyzed in a growing range of social science analysis, they have not yet been adequately understood in the context of a unified, systematic and comprehensive taxonomy of national immigration regimes.

In response to this gap, this study examines 30 countries’ immigration demographic outcomes, derives a taxonomy of immigration regimes, and develops explanations for what drives the variation in outcomes across borders. Examining this taxonomy, we find that the world’s most prominent migration destination regimes in the current day appear far more influenced by the policies of the Gulf states than those of the settler states of the Cold War period.

Indeed, today even some of the most liberal settler states like Australia and Canada no longer look much like settler states, with high rates of temporary immigration as a percentage of annual migrant flows and dominant emphases on labor migration within their group of selected migrants. Rather, the countries in this study converge toward elevated numbers of temporary migrants, a focus on labor migration via economic visas or free movement agreements, forms of tacitly ethnicity-based selection through free movement agreements, and relatively low levels of naturalization. Relative to the openness and permanence of earlier liberal models, this emerging approach embodies what we refer to as a “Market Model” that reflects the increasingly contingent nature of labor markets worldwide.

*A sandwich lunch will be provided