Brokered (Il)legality: Co-producing the Status of Migrants from Myanmar to Thailand
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In the heavy migration flow from Myanmar to Thailand, private migration infrastructure provides an alternative as well as an interface to the bureaucratic migration management by states. Immigration procedures in Thailand are restrictive and changeable. As a result, both documented and undocumented low-paid migration is heavily brokered, expensive and results in precarious legal statuses for migrants. Whereas the ‘legal’ route created by Thailand’s Memoranda of Understanding with Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar remains underused, human smuggling and other formal and informal brokerage industries are well-established. This chapter shows both should be considered as part of the same migration system and demonstrates the extent of brokerage and collusion with state authorities in the arrival, departure and status management of migrants.
KeywordsBrokerage (Il)legality Migrants Border Myanmar–Thailand
The author would like to thank her gatekeepers, co-researchers, research participants and sponsors as well as the participants of the ‘The Migration Industry’ workshop at NUS in June 2017 where she presented a draft of the paper.
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