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St Cross Seminar: The 'New' Guestworker? Rethinking the Ethics of Temporary Labour Migration Programme

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Duration: 0:34:18 | Added: 10 Jun 2015
This talk probes into the ethical landscape of contemporary TLMPs in liberal democratic states, and examines issues such as migrants' rights.

At the beginning of the 21st century, temporary labour migration programmes (TLMP) have (re)emerged and expanded in a number of advanced industrialised countries. TLMPs are not a new phenomenon, with the use of large-scale guestworker schemes in Western Europe and the United States during the 1950s-1960s. Advocates of contemporary TLMPs argue that ‘carefully designed’ schemes can deliver ‘triple wins’ for host countries, home countries and migrants and their families. Yet, the case for these ‘new and improved’ TLMPs is not without critics, who maintain that these schemes continue to have highly exploitative elements built into them. This talk probes into the ethical landscape of contemporary TLMPs in liberal democratic states. I examine the various attempts to justify the array of restrictions on migrants’ employment and social rights under TLMPs. In particular, I provide a critique of a relatively influential argument that has emerged in recent years, which puts forward a purported trade-off between the numbers of migrants admitted and the rights granted to them.

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