CFP | Sending State Regimes and International Skilled Migration: Asian Perspectives in the Age of Global Migration

Sharon Ong's picture
Call for Papers
March 31, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Borderlands, Geography, Human Rights, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Labor History / Studies

This workshop is organised by the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore; with funding support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Grant at Wilfrid Laurier University.

26 - 27 Aug 2020
National University of Singapore

Migration scholars have increasingly recognized the importance of attending to multi-directional, cross-border connections between sending and receiving countries in defining the migrant experience. Yet, in understanding the implications of contemporary migration for governments and public policy, the majority of migration research has mainly focused on the perspective of receiving nation-states, centering on issues of control, economic impact, and immigrant integration. In contrast, the role of sending states in actively promoting or tacitly facilitating the international migration of their citizens has attracted far less scholarly attention. As a consequence, studies of labour migration have often treated sending states as “unimportant auxiliaries” (Patton, 1994, 3), merely reacting to the demands of the more powerful receiving nation-states which consume their citizens’ labour. This under-theorization of what the sending state does before the migrant leaves, and the impact of sending state policies on the skills composition, geographical reach and scale of international migration, remains an important gap in the migration field (Lee, 2017).

This workshop builds on a growing body of literature that refocuses attention on sending state migration regimes. In particular, we seek papers that examine the state policies, strategies, and structures that produce and facilitate labor migration. We are interested in papers that add more nuance to theories that portray sending state regimes mainly as “labor brokering” institutions, dominated by a single mandate of recruiting and deploying workers to meet foreign employers’ demands. For example, are international migration opportunities factored into wider training and education policy, if so who are the main actors promoting such options, and what consequences emerge from such a policy nexus? This workshop delves deeper into the question of which actors make up the sending state regime, and how labour emigration involves not just the state agency directly overseeing emigration, but also private industry partners, non-profit organizations, and other government agencies focused on domestic issues such as education, health, and family. Lastly, this workshop seeks papers on how sending states negotiate the task of managing emigration in the current global landscape, where online recruitment, chains of intermediaries, multinational migration, and transnational social networks have changed how people move across borders.

We invite papers offering an Asian perspective on these themes of sending state regimes and international labor migration. Possible topics include but are not limited to the following questions:

• How can we theorise the multiple roles (e.g. production, regulatory, facilitating, protection) played by sending states in international skilled migration?
• Who are the actors and organizations involved (either directly or indirectly) in state policies geared towards labor export?
• How do migrant sending state policies influence international labor migration patterns in terms of skills composition (e.g. by promoting investment in training and education infrastructure), as well as the scale and directionality of skilled migration (e.g. by using bilateral or other agreements)?
• How can sending and receiving nations collaboratively generate forms of global social regulation of labour through diplomacy, trade negotiations and the work of regional consultative groups and international organizations such as the ILO, IOM, OECD and others?


Paper proposals should include a title, an abstract (250 words) and a brief biography (150 words) for submission by 31 March 2020. Abstracts should include clear statements explaining the conceptual and methodological bases of the paper in addition to summarising the paper’s key arguments and findings. Please note that only previously unpublished papers or those not already committed elsewhere can be accepted. The organisers plan to publish a special issue based on papers presented at the conference. By participating in the conference, you agree to participate in the future publication plans of the organizers. Hotel accommodation and/or a contribution towards airfare will be provided for accepted paper participants (one author per paper).

Please submit your proposal using the provided submission form to Ms Kristel Acedera at Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by end of April 2020. Participants will be required to send in a completed draft paper (about 6,000 words) by 31 July 2020.


Professor Brenda Yeoh
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

Professor Margaret Walton-Roberts
Balsillie School of International Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University

Dr Yasmin Ortiga
School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University

Dr Exequiel Cabanda
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

Ms Kristel Acedera
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

Contact Info: 

Ms Kristel Acedera

Contact Email: