Legislated Inequality: Provisional Migration and the Stratification of Migrant Lives

Part of the Mobility & Politics book series (MPP)


Over recent decades, a focus on management has become increasingly central in the formulation and operation of migration policy across the world. This is particularly the case in Anglophone settler societies, where migration regimes, formerly oriented towards large-scale settlement, have progressively introduced schemes for temporary migrant entry for work or study that hold out the prospect of settlement for only a select number of arrivals. While migration policy has always hinged on inequalities between potential and actual migrants, these provisional migration regimes manifest an internalisation of inequality in relation to the present rights and future prospects of individuals residing within nations. This chapter explores the shifting relationship between migration policy and inequality through a focus on labour migration policies in Aotearoa/New Zealand and the ways in which the value of migrants has become oriented around claims of quality and skill that have manifest impact on the daily lives of migrants and the communities they live amongst. Through this analysis, the chapter demonstrates the manner that inequalities within migrant populations, as well as between migrants and non-migrants, are not only established through extant social and economic differences but also formalised through the legislation of multidimensional stratification in society.


Migration management Temporary migration Labour market Stratification Inequality Occupation Gender 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of Demographic and Economic AnalysisUniversity of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand

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