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Managing labour migration in Malaysia: foreign workers and the challenges of 'control' beyond liberal democracies

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Joseph Trawicki Anderson
Publicerad i Third World Quarterly
Sidor 19
ISSN 0143-6597
Publiceringsår 2020
Publicerad vid Institutionen för globala studier
Sidor 19
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2020.17...
Ämnesord Malaysia, migration control, guestworkers, migration policy, transnational migration, migrant workers, immigration, policy, brokers, politics, regimes, Development Studies
Ämneskategorier Social och ekonomisk geografi


This paper examines the issue of migration control in Malaysia. Despite the fact that the majority of the world's migratory movements are between countries in the Global South, the dominant focus of research on migration control has tended to be liberal democracies of the Global North. Here, focussing on a country which is a major destination for migrants in Southeast Asia, this paper examines the varied policies enacted by the Malaysian government in an effort to decrease the number of undocumented foreign workers. As Malaysia is known for its frequent migration policy shifts, this paper traces the many twists and turns in Malaysian policy in the period from 2011 to 2019. In doing so, the paper seeks to help build a better understanding of the complex and sometimes contradictory tools states use in attempting to manage migration. Here I find that some patterns emerge from Malaysia's use of a wide variety of policy instruments to reduce its population of undocumented foreign workers, but that ultimately these must be placed in the context of the overall economic reliance of Malaysia on foreign labour and its turbulent policies.

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