International Labour Migration: Economics, Politics and Ethics (Online)
This global course analyses one of the most controversial public policy issues of the 21st century: how to regulate international labour migration and the rights of migrant workers. Integrating economics, politics and ethics, the course comprehensively discusses the determinants, impacts and regulation of labour immigration and emigration around the world.
Listen to Dr Martin Ruhs talking about the course:
The regulation of labour immigration and the rights of migrant workers are among the most controversial policy issues around the world. In public and media debates, migrants can be development 'heroes' for their countries of origin, 'villains' that threaten the jobs and welfare of workers in host countries, and/or 'victims' of exploitation by people traffickers, recruiters and employers.
This global course discusses key facts and fiction in debates about international labour migration. It comprehensively analyses the determinants and consequences of labour migration for host countries, migrants and their countries of origin. Drawing on economics, politics and ethics, the course debates the fundamental policy questions, trade-offs and moral dilemmas that are inescapable in the regulation of labour immigration and emigration.
Written by Martin Ruhs, Associate Professor of Political Economy at Oxford University and migration advisor to a wide range of national governments and international organisations, the course includes interviews with over fifteen global experts global experts, on international migration, migrant rights and development.
For information on how the courses work, and a link to our course demonstration site, please click here.
The areas you will cover in this course are:
1. International labour migration: Global trends and determinants.
- Definitions and their consequences
- Public attitudes
- The scale, patterns and drivers of migration
2. Beyond control? Objectives and limitations of the immigration state.
- The objectives and limitations of the immigration state
- Interests, institutions and ideas: What are the drivers of labour immigration policies?
3. Burden or benefit? The impacts of migrant workers in receiving countries.
- The economic effects of immigration
- The social effects of immigration
4. Opening doors: Labour immigration policies in high-income countries.
- Policy tools for regulating labour immigration
- Labour immigration policies in high-income countries: Key features and drivers
5. Labour emigration and rights abroad: The perspectives of migrants and their countries of origin.
- The effects of emigration on migrants, their families and countries of origin
- Labour emigration policies and dilemmas in practice
6. Temporary labour migration programmes: Past, present and future.
- Looking back: Experiences with past guest worker programmes
- Looking forward: Can we make TMPs work better?
7. Open borders: The economics and politics of free movement agreements.
- Drivers and effects of free movement agreements
- Policy changes: Comparing the EU and ASEAN
8. Illegal and exploited? Functions and impacts of illegality in labour migration.
- Definitions, functions and impacts of illegality in labour migration
- Policy responses
9. Inclusion and exclusion: The ethics of labour immigration policy.
- Fundamental ethical questions in labour immigration policy
- The ethics of temporary migration programmes that restrict migrant rights
10. Toward a World Migration Organisation? The global governance of international labour migration.
- The human rights of migrant workers: Why do so few countries care?
- The global governance of international labour migration: Where next?
We strongly recommend that you try to find a little time each week to engage in the online conversations (at times that are convenient to you) as the forums are an integral, and very rewarding, part of the course and the online learning experience.
To participate in the course you will need to have regular access to the Internet and you will need to buy the following book:
Ruhs, M. (2013) The Price of Rights. Regulating International Labor Migration, Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford
To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online. If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to register and pay the £10 fee.
For more information on CATS point please click on the link below: http://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/studentsupport/faq/cats.php
Coursework is an integral part of all online courses and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.
Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.
All students who successfully complete this course, whether registered for credit or not, are eligible for a Certificate of Completion. Completion consists of submitting both course assignments and actively participating in the course forums. Certificates will be available, online, for those who qualify after the course finishes.
This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.
Home/EU Fee: £270.00
Non-EU Fee: £295.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00
Dr Olga Siemers is a researcher and tutor in political economy with research interests in international migration and labour markets; inequality and economic policy; EU and global studies. Olga holds a PhD in Employment Research from Warwick University and a MA in Politics from Freie Universität Berlin.
Currently, she is working on an experimental research project at the Open University Business School examining the impact of financial education on individual behavior and budgeting skills. Funded by the Chancellor’s International Scholarship, her doctoral research about careers of high-skilled migrants explored the outcomes of the EU policy to promote and financially support academic mobility in Europe. Before her doctorate, Olga spent a year as a DAAD funded visiting researcher at the European University Institute in Fiesole, Italy.
With her international and multidisciplinary background, Olga is a proponent of mixed-methods research with strong command of survey and secondary data analysis, randomised controlled trials, qualitative interviews and focus groups. Prior to the academic career, Olga was working as a research assistant to an MP in German Parliament responsible for conducting practice-oriented research and policy analysis focused on burning political issues at the time.
This course aims to:
- Analyse global trends, patterns and determinants of international labour migration and discuss the changing role of migrants in the global labour market.
- Introduce students to theories and empirical research about the impacts of international labour migration on immigration countries, migrants and their countries of origin, highlighting the key role of migrant rights in shaping effects for all sides.
- Discuss and compare the key features of labour immigration policies and the rights of migrant workers in high- and middle-income countries.
- Critically analyse the drivers of labour immigration policies in high-income countries and labour emigration policies of lower-income countries.
- Using specific case studies from around the world, highlight the many trade-offs and policy dilemmas involved in the regulation of international labour migration, and discuss the consequent ethical questions about how to prioritise different interests in policy making.
- Compare and discuss different policy approaches to regulating low- and high-skilled labour migration, including temporary and permanent migration programmes.
- Discuss key issues in the supra-national and global governance of international labour migration and the rights of migrant workers.
- Provide a multi-disciplinary and integrated discussion of labour migration drawing on economics, politics, and ethics.
There are several kinds of activity that students will be asked to complete while on this course. Some of these will be ongoing throughout the course, whereas others will relate to the topic of a particular week. Activity types include:
- Readings of book chapters and articles.
- Listening/watching podcasts/vodcasts including over 15 interviews with global migration experts.
- Group discussions in unit-specific group forums (e.g. discussing a specific case study / policy).
- Interactive analysis and debate through our InfoMap tool which allows students to answer questions or gather information from the perspective of a particular country and share this information with other students via a map interface.
- Participating in online surveys and polls.
- Two Q&A sessions with the course author.
- Adding terms to glossary wiki.
- Adding a resource to the 'resource bank'.
- Reading of newspaper clippings / webpages.
Assessment for this course is based on two written assignments - one short assignment of 500 words due half way through the course and one longer assignment of 1500 words due at the end of the course.
Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.
Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.
Level and demands
FHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 study hours.
Terms and conditions
Terms and conditions for applicants and students on this course
Sources of funding
Information on financial support