Migrating out of Poverty

Exploring the links between migration and poverty through research, capacity building and policy engagement

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Migration Brokerage, Debt and Precarious Employment

This theme speaks to policy in the areas of labour rights, migrant and human rights and precarious labour. The key policy questions for this session are:

  • Can migration into precarious work lead to an improvement in welfare?
  • What can policy do to maximise the returns and minimise the risks and exploitation associated with such migration?

For many categories of migrant labour on the lowest rungs of employment in manufacturing and services, work is often insecure and poorly paid. Patterns of recruitment through intermediaries as well as the crippling costs of migration have been in the spotlight for compounding the vulnerability of migrants. Yet recent studies of migrant workers in such employment suggest that migration into precarious occupations may be undertaken as part of a planned but risky strategy to improve the social and economic status of the sending household. We invite contributions exploring the process of recruitment into relatively low-paid and insecure migration, migration costs, migrant perceptions of the costs and benefits of such migration and the counterfactual - how the migrants and their families would have fared if they had not migrated.

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Differentiated Niches in Migrant Labour Markets

This theme speaks to policy and programming in the areas of migration, gender and intersectionality. The key policy questions for this session are:

  • How can policy be tuned to recognise and support the different opportunities and vulnerabilities experienced by men/boys and women/girls belonging to different classes and ethnic groups?
  • What particular policies can be put in place to address discursive factors in shaping migration outcomes?

Niches in the labour market for migrants are often structured by gender, ethnicity and/or age. A number of discursive and material factors lead men/boys and women/girls from different social groups to enter certain types of migrant labour. Little is known about the strategic and gendered processes linked with such migration and how they may shape the economic and social wellbeing and future pathways of the migrants and their families. We welcome contributions examining how social constructions, identifications and self-identifications along the lines of gender, ethnicity, caste, race and class impact divisions of labour, job opportunities and migration experience. Contributions may also focus on labour market dynamics such as wage setting and negotiation, and how they intersect with categories linked with gender, caste, ethnicity and/or race.

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Policy Processes and Politics in Migration

This theme speaks to policy in the areas of migration management, the negotiation and implementation of specific policies, labour rights and human rights. The key policy questions for this session are:

  • Who are the key actors in specific policy processes, what role do they play, and which institutional mechanisms do they mobilise to achieve their objectives?
  • How do global and local power hierarchies intersect in migration management policy processes, what alliances do the institutions involved make, whose interests do they represents, and what does this mean for their implementation?

Policy-making is a complex and non-linear process involving numerous stakeholders and possible alliances between them. As the role of the nation-state as the sole architect of policy has weakened, new structures have emerged with varied political and ideological orientations and agendas. This theme examines the relationships between different stakeholders and the ways in which their interests, ideas, and institutions shape policy outcomes. It also addresses migration politics in relation to the new institutions, actors and agreements that have emerged to manage mobility across borders and within geographical regions in the global South. We invite contributions that document and analyse policy processes, whether they have led to legislation and implementation or not. Contributions investigating the actors, institutions and regional cooperation structures in migration management and the implications for border control, sovereign interests and migrant welfare are also welcome.

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Remittances, Remittance Behaviour and Poverty Outcomes

This theme will be of interest to those working on migration, remittances, poverty and development. The key policy questions for this session are:

  • What can policy do to harness the positive impacts of remittances and minimise the negative ones?
  • How can remittances be channelled more efficiently towards investments for longer term sustainable livelihoods?
  • What lessons can be learnt from the experiences of fragile and conflict affected countries that have been rebuilt with the help of remittances?

A number of positions seek to explain the relationship between remittances and family relations; ranging from emphasising a mutual contract between a migrant and their family based on inheritance practices or notions of altruism, to gendered hierarchies of who is the better remitter. Evidence exists to support all positions. We invite contributions that revisit these discussions with a more nuanced understanding of poverty including subjective assessments of poverty and cultural motivations to remit. Questions to address can include comparisons between remittances from internal and international migrants, explorations of the relationship between remittances, precarious employment and poverty, and investigations into the use of remittances and the reasons behind certain patterns of use.

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Additionally, we invite contributions within the themes below, which may be incorporated into the four panels outlined above or be allocated separate panels as appropriate.

Youth and Migration

This theme invites contributions exploring the hopes and aspirations of young people in relation to migration, whether they themselves become migrants or they are children or siblings of migrants. Presentations may address questions of mobility in migration, life course transitions and youths’ thinking and doing in connection with migration.

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Return and Reintegration, Gender Identities and Livelihoods

This theme invites contributions examining the social, economic and cultural relationships ensuing from the voluntary and involuntary return of migrants and refugees returning from elsewhere. Presentations may address ways of managing risk and disappointment and/or strategic planning of return in order to inform policy-makers working with assisted return

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Migration and Social Networks

This theme invites contributions investigating how the structure and functioning of social networks might be shifting with the advent of new communication technologies, new transport routes, new labour market niches and new state controls. Presentations may focus on the relationship between social networks and social media; how networks are used to manage risk and the role of networks in creating and sustaining labour market niches and charting routes.

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Social Policy for Migrants

This theme invites contributions focusing on welfare programmes in the areas of health, food, education, insurance, and housing aimed specifically at migrants. Presentations of empirical research or evaluations of interventions in these areas are invited to create discussion on the effectiveness of such programmes and the ways they can be scaled up and/or improved.

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Migration, Urbanisation and Climate Change

This theme invites contributions exploring the vulnerability of marginalised urban populations and rural urban migrants in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or Southeast Asia to climate change. Papers may also cover adaptation including technologies such as early warning systems that can help urban populations cope with floods and other climate related events.

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The Migration Crisis

This theme invites proposals exploring how an improved understanding of the dynamics of migration at origin, on the journey and at destination can inform the development of optimal solutions for all parties concerned. Contributions may bring into question what constitutes a migration crisis, to whom and for what reasons.

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Migrant Journeys

This theme invites contributions from those who have been involved in documenting migrant journeys within the global South and beyond. It will explore the methods, their challenges and the insights that these provide. Visual displays, cartoons and films will be displayed around the conference venue to the extent possible.

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Migrant Organizations and Activism

This theme invites contributions from activists working with migrant organisations such as Migrant Forum Asia, international coalitions on migrant rights such as the Freedom Fund, and international programmes such as the Work in Freedom programme of the ILO.

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