This article discusses the roots of the current governance system of global migration in relation to labor mobility from a critical policy and historical perspectives, by assessing the current state of global migration governance and key protection gaps regarding migrant workers, to then consider future avenues for research and advocacy to forward migrants’ human and labor rights. In the authors’ analysis of global migration governance, they center the historic and contemporary role of the International Labor Organization, whose social justice mandate and body of international labor standards extend to migrant and nonmigrant workers, and its shifting position within the international system. The authors argue that shifting geopolitical concerns and competing institutional mandates within the international system have been obstacles to advancing a rights-based approach to the global regulation of labor migration. Nevertheless, they find that the current institutional and political environment may provide opportunities for enhanced cooperation and action at the global level to empower migrant workers.
Global Labor Migration: Shifting Governance Mechanisms, Rights Deficits, and the Search for Order
CHARLIE FANNING is a doctoral student at the University of Maryland, College Park, specializing in twentieth-century US history, with a transnational focus on labor, agribusiness, and immigration. Previously he served as the Senior Global Researcher and Advocate in the AFL-CIO’s International Department, where he supported the federation’s work on issues ranging from immigration and trade to global labor standards and member education. He holds an MA from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a BA from Florida Southern College.
NICOLA PIPER is professor of international migration at the University of Sydney, where she is also the founding director of the Sydney Asia Pacific Migration Centre. Her research interests revolve around international labor migration, the governance of labor mobility, and gender. She is (co)chief editor of the international peer-reviewed journal Global Social Policy and guest editor of two book series on migration (focused on the Asia Pacific) with Routledge. In 2018 she was awarded a Global Professor Fellowship by the British Academy, hosted by Queen Mary University of London in the United Kingdom, where she will be conducting research until December 2022.
Charlie Fanning, Nicola Piper; Global Labor Migration: Shifting Governance Mechanisms, Rights Deficits, and the Search for Order. Labor 1 March 2021; 18 (1): 67–86. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15476715-8767350
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