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Nicola Piper and Matt Withers, Temporary Labour Migration in Asia: Protracted Precarity and Truncated Rights

by Gareth Bryant on March 1, 2017

2017 Political Economy Seminar Series

Nicola Piper and Matt Withers (University of Sydney), ‘Temporary Labour Migration in Asia: Protracted Precarity and Truncated Rights’

Date: Thursday 9 March 2017

Time: 4pm-5.30pm

Location: Darlington Centre Boardroom

Abstract: Our work analyses the patterns and dynamics of intra-Asia temporary labour migration and the dominant global and regional migration governance frameworks that sustain them. This analysis is itself informed by the concept of protracted precarity, which contests the assumption that migrant workers ‘move into’ conditions of precarious employment when they travel abroad by emphasising the existing forms of economic vulnerability within migrant-sending countries that condition the need for workers to seek foreign employment in the first place. We find that protracted precarity is shaped by structural inequalities throughout the global and regional economy and buttressed by institutional incapacity and lacking integration of labour governance within migration governance. The key argument advanced is that the dominant project of migration governance continues to fail in several key areas, reflected by decent work deficits in relation to labour rights, the nature of employment opportunities and lacking social protection at all stages of the migration process – i.e. a failure to realise migrants’ human and labour rights prior to migration, while abroad and upon return. Without adopting a holistic understanding of migrant precarity and its spatio-temporal dimensions, migration governance’s promise to benefit all parties will continue to ring hollow for temporary labour migrants themselves.

About the speakers: Nicola Piper is Professor of International Migration at the University of Sydney and Director of the Sydney Asia Pacific Migration Centre (SAPMiC). Matt Withers is a recent PhD graduate in Political Economy at the University of Sydney and Research Officer with SAPMiC.

Contact: Gareth Bryant,

All welcome!

Gareth Bryant
Gareth Bryant is a Lecturer in the Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney.

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