One of the key problems of the global refugee regime is the absence of binding mechanisms for ensuring international cooperation with regard to the protection of people fleeing persecution. In the last decades, wealthier countries have deployed responsibility-shifting policies aiming to restrict their international obligations to help refugees without officially breaching these obligations. These countries have done so both reactively, via the considerable expansion of a migration control apparatus, as well as proactively, through the co-optation of other countries in the provision of protection. Responsibility-shifting policies have had severe and harmful political and policy consequences at the domestic, regional, and global levels. This chapter investigates these policies and their consequences by focusing on the United Kingdom (UK) in the European context and Australia in the Asia-Pacific context. Today, both the UK and Australia are at the forefront of responsibility-shifting and have developed complex relationships with institutions managing their borders and internal geography. The chapter contributes to transregional studies by emphasizing similarities and differences in the development of such ambivalences, by historicizing them, and by highlighting policy convergence and divergence within limited policy norms at the global level.
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