Sending state regimes and international skilled migration: Sending country perspectives in the age of global migration

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Feminist Geographies Specialty Group, Ethnic Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 1:45 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Silver, Sheraton, IM Pei Tower, Majestic Level
Organizers: Margaret Walton-Roberts, Felicitas Hillmann
Chairs: Margaret Walton-Roberts

Call for Submissions

We invite papers on the theme of sending state regimes and international skilled migration. Areas of interest may include:

• migrant sending state policies and how they influence international skilled migration patterns in terms of skills composition (e.g. by promoting investment in training and education infrastructure), as well as the scale and directionality of skilled migration (e.g. by using bilateral or other agreements).
• how sending and receiving nations might collaboratively generate forms of global social regulation of labour through diplomacy, trade negotiations and the work of regional consultative groups and international organizations such as the ILO, OECD and others (Ennis and Walton-Roberts 2018).
• Theorizing the multiple roles (e.g. regulatory, facilitating, protection) played by sending states in international skilled migration, and how they might relate to specific outcomes in terms of gendering migration flows, enhancing or reducing migrant vulnerability and challenging or reproducing structural barriers to skills mobility.


Session Description:
International skilled migration is a key feature of the global economy and a major contributor to socio-economic development. Over 40% of UN member states intend to increase the number of high-skilled migrants they attract (Czaika and Parsons 2017). Selective immigration policies filter and sort migrant workers according to skills and professional credentials, and indeed, selective, less restrictive immigration admission policies for skilled migration are seen as the norm to which many states are now converging (De Haas et al., 2018). The majority of migration research, however, examines this process mainly from the perspective of the receiving nation-states, usually in terms of social and economic impacts on receiving societies and host national policy governance of migrant flows.
Scholarship on the role of sending countries in actively promoting or tacitly facilitating the international migration of their citizens, is less in evidence. This is despite some key work that has highlighted the important role of sending country regimes in the international migration process. Rodriguez (2011), for example, characterises the Philippines as a ‘brokerage state’ in the terms of labour deployment, while Iskander (2010) considers how the emigrant state in Morocco and Mexico worked with receiving nations to facilitate labour migration.
In terms of theorisation, scholars have argued that dominant migration theories have treated “labour exporting administrations as unimportant auxiliaries” (Patton, 1994, 3). This under-theorization of what the sending state does before the migrant leaves remains as an important ‘blind spot’ in migration research (Lee 2017, 1456). Lee (2017, 2019) has argued for greater theorization of sending state regimes in terms of international migration, and has proposed a typology including three broad approaches: accommodating, facilitating or directing. While Lee’s (2017) typology is a useful starting point, it also opens up questions relating to how different regimes indicate different levels or degrees of intervention aimed at influencing migration flows and how this range and variation can be theorised.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Margaret Walton-Roberts*, Wilfrid Laurier University, Developing a comparative analysis of sending state regimes in the international migration of nurses 15 1:45 PM
Presenter Gunjan Sondhi*, , Parvati Raghuram, The Open University, Valuing skills in skilled migration – sending country perspective 15 2:00 PM
Presenter Felicitas Hillmann*, Leibniz-Institute on Society and Space, Refreshing old partnerships in new global mobility regimes 15 2:15 PM
Presenter Yuling Song*, National Changhua University of Education, Department of Geography, Beyond brain drain: Mobility of young Taiwanese talents in China and Malaysia 15 2:30 PM

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