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Chapter 11: Migration and Labour Markets: An Interpretation of the Literature
11 Migration and labour markets: an interpretation of the literature Tom Lusis and Harald Bauder INTRODUCTION In a 2007 publication titled ‘Immigration, labour markets and employment relations: problems and prospects’, Patrick McGovern argues that immigration has been largely neglected in the employment relations literature. This research gap is problematic, he believes, as immigration can provide a theoretical lens for areas of study in the field. In this chapter we build on these suggestions. We base our analysis on three topics identified by McGovern as typical topics of interest to employment relations researchers. Topic one deals with the role of the state. The state is heavily involved in regulating the movement and selection of labour migrants. Government immigration policies are increasingly based upon an economic rationale, and labour migrants are seen as a means to meet the short- and long-term needs of both source and destination country economies. Topic two examines the role of institutions. There are a wide range of organizations in the ‘migration industry’ whose business is recruiting, training and ultimately supplying labour to fill various employment niches. These organizations provide an institutional structure to migrations. Topic three investigates transnational migrant social networks and ethnic economies. These social networks stimulate labour migrations in source areas, and are central to the economic integration of migrants in destination countries. A theme connecting all topics is labour market segmentation. Processes of segmentation are found throughout all areas of labour migrations and work to relegate foreign-born labour forces to secondary sectors in global...
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