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The Gulf is a major global destination for migrant workers, with a majority of these workers coming from South Asia. In this book, a team of international contributors examine the often-overlooked complex governance of this migration corridor.

Going beyond state-centric analysis, the contributors present a multi-layered account of the ‘migration governance complex.’ They offer insights not only into the actors involved in the different components of migration governance, but also into the varying ways of interpreting and explaining the meaning and value of these interactions. Together, they enable readers to better understand migration in this important region, while also providing a model for analyzing global migration governance in practice in different parts of the world.

Open access

The governance of migration has increased in complexity. Individual citizens (migrants and their families; political, professional, and ethnic communities), NGOs, regional and international organizations, and states (both central and subnational authorities) all have stakes in the migration process, and each serve as potential mechanisms of governance or venues for responding to migrant needs. Some scholars focus on the international level through the role of global institutions, while others concentrate on national migration and labour regulations. Yet frameworks that account for the multi-layered nature of migration governance across multiple sovereign political domains are lacking. This is a story of overlapping contested sovereignties, which occurs across, above, and below the involved states. We examine these dynamics by looking at one significant, albeit neglected, case: the South-to-West Asia migration corridor. Gulf countries host nearly 14 per cent of global labour migrants, the source of nearly one quarter of global remittances. Moreover, over 90 per cent of migrant workers from India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, and over 65 per cent from Bangladesh and Nepal, find employment in a Gulf country. By focusing on this dynamic corridor through a collection of studies from scholars coming from different disciplines and research methodologies (political science, geography, anthropology, economics, law), we seek to map the multiple, simultaneous processes that form a migration governance complex to build theoretical insights for migration and governance literature.

Open access

Within the broader India–UAE migration corridor, the Kerala–Dubai corridor illustrates the complex assemblage of actors operating in a migration governance space and, in a variety of ways, challenging state sovereignty over this issue area. Where some view migration and citizenship governance as a ‘last bastion of state sovereignty’ (Dauvergne 2008: 169), others suggest growing evidence in various spheres of migration governance of ‘extraterritorial interventions’ by states and private actors (Rodriguez and Schwenken 2013: 381), and even ‘deterritorialized labour market regulation’ (Ennis and Walton-Roberts 2018: 179). In this chapter, we examine such contested governance and sovereignty in the Kerala–Dubai migration corridor through two cases: the process of recruitment and the establishment of a shared electronic migration regulatory system.

Open access