The Market Model: Immigration Regime Variation and Convergence in 30 Countries
University of Sydney,
and Dr. Justin Gest,
George Mason University
After the end of the Cold War, theorists like Gary Freeman (1995) and Christian Joppke (1999; 2006) argued that the world was converging towards an increasingly open, liberal, and non-discriminatory immigration system, even if countries retained distinctive models. However, during the same period, an alternative vision was emerging in the Gulf Arab States one that saw the facilitation of global movement as an economic opportunity to be exploited, and a risk to the security of national identity and sovereignty. While these two approaches exemplify different extreme types of immigration governance and have been analyzed in a growing range of social science studies, they have not yet been adequately understood in the context of a unified, systematic and comprehensive taxonomy of national immigration regimes. In response to this gap, this study examines 30 countries¹ immigration demographic outcomes, derives a taxonomy of immigration regimes, and develops explanations for what drives the variation in outcomes across borders. Examining this taxonomy, we find that the world¹s most prominent migration destination regimes in the current day appear far more similar to the policies of the Gulf states than those of the settler states of the Cold War period. Indeed today, even some of the most liberal settler states like Australia and Canada no longer look much like settler states, with high rates of temporary immigration as a percentage of annual migrant flows and dominant emphasis on labor migration within their group of selected migrants. Rather, the countries in this study converge toward elevated numbers of temporary migrants, a focus on labor migration via economic visas or free movement agreements, forms of tacitly ethnicity-based selection through free movement agreements, and relatively low levels of naturalization. In contrast to the openness and permanence of Freeman and Joppke’s Liberal Model, this emerging approach embodies what we refer to as a Market Model that reflects the increasingly contingent nature of labor markets worldwide.
Anna Boucher is Senior Lecturer & Scholarly Teaching Fellow at the University of Sydney. Her key research interests are in the areas of public policy, with a particular focus on immigration, gender and welfare state concerns. Her work considers these issues from both an Australian and comparative perspective, with a political science and legal focus. Anna is an active researcher in the immigration field, having co-founded the Migration Studies Unit at the London School of Economics (LSE).