SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Surak, Kristin (2012) 'Migration Industries and Developmental States in East Asia.' In: Gammeltoft-Hansen, Thomas and Nyberg Sorensen, Ninna, (eds.), The Migration Industry and the Commercialization of International Migration. London: Routledge, pp. 89-110.

Full text not available from this repository.


The emerging field of migration industry studies has refocused attention on the entrepreneurial infrastructures—labor recruitment, money-lending, transportation, remittance, documentation, and communication services—vital for directing movement between here and there. Work in this vein has concentrated largely on illegal and irregular activities, and thus presents the state as a supportive or inhibitive context for such industries to grow, but not as an active partner in their development. Investigating legal migration schemes, however, offers the opportunity to elaborate the forms of state involvement. This chapter examines how the governments of Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea cooperate with migration entrepreneurs and enterprises to manage the labor and marriage migration schemes directing flows from China, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. I show that, as in prior studies, the state becomes a platform for the development of migration industries when visas have few restrictions. The game is different, however, when visas are limited. In formal or informal guestworker schemes, the state may become a principal charging agents—brokers, visa handlers, employers—to implement its programs, thereby saving resources, strengthening control through market mechanisms, and creating a protective “corporate veil.” Finally, the state may become a piggybacker that attaches itself to grass-roots migration industry sectors and makes use of the existing infrastructure of migration businesses for its own ends. Civil society groups can block some of the most exploitative elements of such schemes, but their efforts are stymied as the state becomes increasingly invested in these partnerships.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: international migration, migration industry, East Asia
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Politics and International Studies
ISBN: 9780415623780
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2014 14:20

Altmetric Data

There is no Altmetric data currently associated with this item.


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item