Book Description

Many low-income countries and development organizations are calling for greater liberalization of labor immigration policies in high-income countries. At the same time, human rights organizations and migrant rights advocates demand more equal rights for migrant workers. The Price of Rights shows why you cannot always have both.

Examining labor immigration policies in over forty countries, as well as policy drivers in major migrant-receiving and migrant-sending states, Martin Ruhs finds that there are trade-offs in the policies of high-income countries between openness to admitting migrant workers and some of the rights granted to migrants after admission. Insisting on greater equality of rights for migrant workers can come at the price of more restrictive admission policies, especially for lower-skilled workers. Ruhs advocates the liberalization of international labor migration through temporary migration programs that protect a universal set of core rights and account for the interests of nation-states by restricting a few specific rights that create net costs for receiving countries.

The Price of Rights analyzes how high-income countries restrict the rights of migrant workers as part of their labor immigration policies and discusses the implications for global debates about regulating labor migration and protecting migrants. It comprehensively looks at the tensions between human rights and citizenship rights, the agency and interests of migrants and states, and the determinants and ethics of labor immigration policy.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Contents
  5. Acknowledgments
  6. Abbreviations
  7. Chapter 1 The Rights of Migrant Workers: Reframing the Debate
    1. Aims and Approach of the Book
    2. Outline of the Chapters and Main Arguments
    3. Terminology and Scope of This Book
  8. Chapter 2 The Human Rights of Migrant Workers: Why Do So Few Countries Care?
    1. International Migrant Rights Conventions
    2. Ratification: Record and Obstacles
    3. Effectiveness
    4. Migrant Rights, Citizenship Rights, and Immigration Policy
  9. Chapter 3 Nation-States, Labor Immigration, and Migrant Rights: What Can We Expect?
    1. The Objectives of Labor Immigration Policy
    2. Constraints and Variations in the Migration State
    3. Three Hypotheses
  10. Chapter 4 An Empirical Analysis of Labor Immigration Programs in Forty-Six Countries
    1. Existing Research and the Scope of My Analysis
    2. Indicators for Measuring Openness to Labor Immigration
    3. Indicators for Measuring Migrant Rights
    4. Methods, Data, and Limitations
    5. Openness to Labor Immigration
    6. Migrant Rights
    7. Summary of Findings
  11. Chapter 5 Regulating the Admission and Rights of Migrant Workers: Policy Rationales in High-Income Countries
    1. Explaining Greater Openness to Higher-Skilled Migrant Workers
    2. Why More Rights for Skilled Migrant Workers?
    3. Explaining Trade-Offs between Openness and Rights
    4. The National Interest: Expected Impacts Drive Labor Immigration Policies
  12. Chapter 6 Labor Emigration and Rights Abroad: The Perspectives of Migrants and Their Countries of Origin
    1. Migrants: Emigration, Rights, and Human Development
    2. Sending Countries: Interests and Policy Choices
    3. Engaging with Trade-Offs
  13. Chapter 7 The Ethics of Labor Immigration Policy
    1. What Consequences Should National Policymakers Care about, and for Whom?
    2. The Ethics of Temporary Labor Immigration Programs
    3. What Rights Restrictions Are Justifiable, and for How Long?
    4. Making Temporary Migration Programs Work
    5. Summary: The Case for Tolerating Some Trade-Offs between Openness and Rights
  14. Chapter 8 The Price of Rights: What Next for Human Rights–Based Approaches to International Labor Migration?
    1. Blind Spots and Unintended Consequences of Human Rights
    2. UN Agencies’ Reluctant Engagement with the Price of Rights
    3. Reframing the Human Rights–Based Approach to Migration
    4. Open Debate
  15. Appendix 1 Tables A.1–10
  16. Appendix 2 Overview of Openness Indicators
  17. Appendix 3 Overview of Migrant Rights Indicators
  18. References
  19. Index