Track 6: The Migration Phenomenon: Strategies for the Protection of Migrant Workers

The debate on harnessing migration for development and the experience of large groups of migrants setting off in search of better economic conditions and/or fleeing unrest and persecution, but often exposed to trafficking, smuggling and abuse, are but two of the phenomena which have again highlighted the plight of migrant workers and their families. And yet, governments invariably grapple with growing domestic resistance and a hostile socio-political climate to the inflow and presence of migrants, often in contexts where huge demands are made on social and related services in times of austerity and economic struggle. Strict immigration law regimes and limited social protection, including social security and labour law protection predicated on a complex mix of immigration, nationality, residence, work permit and employment status therefore determine the position of most of the estimated 232 million migrants globally.

The current framework of support and protection extended to migrant workers is complicated by the seemingly different legal, including international standards regimes applicable to (different categories of) migrant workers seeking employment, and higher skilled professionals and business people wanting to establish themselves and/or their businesses and services in other countries.

Against this background, destination, transit and origin countries have to balance the measure and means of protection extended to migrant workers and their families. Bilateral and multilateral responses have increasingly been employed, at times prompted by freedom of movement (of persons, services, capital and goods) and regional integration considerations, and informed by a complex set of international norms and jurisprudential responses. Of growing importance too is the application of unilateral measures, also those emanating from countries of origin, in the wake of weak destination country and bilateral support. And yet, an understanding is required of the need to address root causes of involuntary migration streams. These include, among others, deficient or severely restricted social protection systems in countries of origin.

In view of this, the Congress organisers would like to receive submissions on:

  • Who are the "migrant workers"?: Problems of definition, also with reference to informal workers, self-employed migrants and the regulation of protection for skilled migrants and business entrepreneurs
  • Migration and its impact on the labour market, development and poverty
  • Migration in the context of globalisation and the impact of migration on sending / receiving / transition countries
  • International, regional, inter-regional and nationalpolicy and other frameworks for managing migration: bilateral, multilateral and unilateral responses, involving destination countries, transition countries and
  • Legal status of migrants and their conditions of work and employment and quality of work life: Immigration law, labour law and social security approaches in the search for an appropriate paradigm and the response of the courts to migration
  • Unfair discrimination against people who migrate as well as the impact of xenophobic attitudes: Strategies for ensuring basic equality of treatment
  • Gender / family perspectives and migration
  • Perspectives on remittances and diaspora engagement