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The Price of RightsRegulating International Labor Migration$
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Martin Ruhs

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691132914

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691132914.001.0001

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The Ethics of Labor Immigration Policy

The Ethics of Labor Immigration Policy

(p.154) Chapter 7 The Ethics of Labor Immigration Policy
The Price of Rights

Martin Ruhs

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the ethics of labor immigration policy, moving the discussion from a positive analysis of “what is” to the equally important normative question of “what should be.” If high-income countries' labor immigration policies are characterized by a trade-off between openness and some rights for migrant workers, the chapter asks what rights restrictions—if any—are acceptable in order to enable more workers to access labor markets in high-income countries. It proposes a pragmatic approach that takes into account existing realities in labor immigration policymaking and gives more weight to the interests of migrants and countries of origin than most high-income countries currently do when designing labor immigration policies. Based on this approach, the chapter asserts that there is a strong normative case for tolerating the selective, evidence-based, temporary restriction of a few specific migrant rights under new and expanded temporary migration programs that help liberalize international labor migration.

Keywords:   ethics, high-income countries, labor immigration policy, openness, migrant workers, labor markets, migrants, temporary migration programs, international labor migration, migrant rights

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