There have been contradictory trends in migration policies in advanced countries since the 1990s: states have actively recruited desirable immigrants while they continued to deter and exclude unwanted migrants. The case of Japanese state not only represents this trend, but also shows a profoundly paradoxical case in the sense that it officially negated incorporation of “immigrants” consistently though it has built up multiple channels of transnational labor supply for their urgent needs. It is particularly so because Japan has maintained the divergent policies in the middle of well-known demographic crisis with aging population.
These bifurcated policies can be understood partially by the growing role of “migration industry” in the neoliberal era as recent research showed. However, simultaneous development of migration control machines and building migration pipelines urges us to make a further conceptual breakthrough. This paper introduces the concept of “rent-seeking” activities of stake holders of migration policies to explain persistent gaps between rigid state control of labor flows and active opening of diverse gates for supply of necessary labor by state initiatives. Emerging neo-liberal elites are seeking extra profit through institutional framework which creates oligopolistic market structure by new side door policies such as National Strategic Special Zones for domestic workers and most recent new visa for middle skilled workers. This analysis of rent-seeking of contemporary migrant policies will open fresh eyes on contemporary immigration policies in different national contexts.
- Number: 6
- Year: 2022
- DOI: 10.36852/2695-4427_2022_06.14