Forced transnationalism and temporary labour migration: implications for understanding migrant rights

Nicola Piper, Matt Withers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


International labour migration is inherently a transnational phenomenon that reflects the changing composition of labour markets and labour systems and has resulted in the rising presence of non-citizens in places of work. While the transnationalism literature has made important contributions by shifting empirical attention beyond national boundaries, so too has it overstated migrant agency while downplaying the relevance of state power. This paper draws on the concept of protracted precarity, as it applies to temporary labour migration within key migratory corridors in Asia, to develop an alternative paradigm of forced transnationalism that better accounts for transnationalism in the absence of meaningful agency. Three prominent features of cross-border labour migration are examined: temporary employer-tied contracts, commercialised recruitment, and feminised migration. This leads on to a discussion of the specifically transnational dimensions of the curtailed economic and political rights that produce migrant precarity and precarious livelihoods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)558-575
Number of pages18
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • temporary labour migration
  • migrant precarity
  • transnationalism
  • migrant rights activism
  • migrant governance
  • migration in Asia
  • migration governance
  • Temporary labour migration


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