Many low-income countries and development organizations are calling for greater liberalization of labor immigration policies in high-income countries. At the same time, human rights organizations and migrant rights advocates demand more equal rights for migrant workers. The Price of Rights shows why you cannot always have both.
Examining labor immigration policies in over forty countries, as well as policy drivers in major migrant-receiving and migrant-sending states, Martin Ruhs finds that there are trade-offs in the policies of high-income countries between openness to admitting migrant workers and some of the rights granted to migrants after admission. Insisting on greater equality of rights for migrant workers can come at the price of more restrictive admission policies, especially for lower-skilled workers. Ruhs advocates the liberalization of international labor migration through temporary migration programs that protect a universal set of core rights and account for the interests of nation-states by restricting a few specific rights that create net costs for receiving countries.
The Price of Rights analyzes how high-income countries restrict the rights of migrant workers as part of their labor immigration policies and discusses the implications for global debates about regulating labor migration and protecting migrants. It comprehensively looks at the tensions between human rights and citizenship rights, the agency and interests of migrants and states, and the determinants and ethics of labor immigration policy.
Awards and Recognition
- Winner of the 2014 Best Book Award, Migration and Citizenship Section of the American Political Science Association
"This book lays down some challenging ideas on how we should think about the rights of migrants and needs to be read by everyone concerned with these issues."—Don Flynn, director of the Migrants' Rights Network
"This is a carefully researched book that starkly shows the trade-offs involved between extending more rights to migrants, versus extending more opportunities to enable people to take advantage of the large gains in income possible through international migration. A first-rate contribution to current policy and academic debates."—David McKenzie, lead economist in the Development Research Group at the World Bank
"In this excellent book, Martin Ruhs presents a fresh analysis of the reasons why many countries, whether they be high or low income, restrict the rights of migrant workers. His carefully researched volume will be of great interest to policymakers and migration experts across the globe."—Frank Laczko, International Organization for Migration
"This may be the most important book on migration in the last decade. Focusing on the trade-offs between openness to more migration and limitations on migrants' rights, Martin Ruhs tackles one of the fundamental challenges of the twenty-first century: how to resolve the tensions between national security and human rights."—Khalid Koser, Geneva Centre for Security Policy
"In analyzing the trade-off between liberalizing international labor migration and extending social and economic rights for migrants, this book moves the debate about migrant rights from ideals to realities. It is a must-read for those working in the fields of human rights, development, globalization, and international governance, as well as for specialists and organizations dealing with migration-related issues."—Philip Martin, University of California, Davis
"While it is not easy to write a forcefully argued book about the rights of migrant workers, Ruhs succeeds because he opts for a strong, pragmatic approach. He clearly commands a broad and diverse literature, and he makes his case with extensive knowledge and an array of empirical studies about a range of countries."—Saskia Sassen, Columbia University and author of Territory, Authority, Rights
"This compelling and cogently argued book addresses an important matter, namely the conditions affecting the rights of labor migrants. Where much of the research on rights and citizenship focuses on the developed world, Ruhs rightly expands the scope to include the Persian Gulf states, as well as developing societies such as Malaysia and Indonesia."—Roger Waldinger, University of California, Los Angeles