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Ideas, knowledge and policy change
Author: Alex Balch

Labour migration has become one of the hot topics in Europe, especially since 2000 with the shift from restriction to managed migration. This book provides an account of policy change over labour migration in Europe during this new era of governance. It has implications for debates about the contemporary governance of labour migration in Europe, and questions about the impact of an emergent EU migration regime in the context of a globalising labour market. The key findings offer a deeper understanding of the linkages between those engaged in policymaking and the kinds of communities that produce usable knowledge.

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Alex Balch

This introductory chapter discusses the theme of this volume, which is about the role of ideas, knowledge and policy change in labour migration. This book challenges the usual questions asked about immigration policies and provides new answers about the policy-making process. It presents case studies of Spain and Great Britain, two countries that from quite different backgrounds in terms of immigration policy-making emerged as major labour importers in the European Union since 2000. This work provides evidence of an increasing but variegated role for expertise in policy formation and demonstrates how, and in what ways, national modes of policy-making intervene to resist or facilitate policy convergence via particular types of communities and coalitions.

in Managing labour migration in Europe
Alex Balch

This chapter examines the development of policy theory as it relates to labour migration, exploring the conceptualisations of ideas and knowledge in the policy process according to each account. It reviews existing theories of migration policy-making and evaluates their application to the cases of Spain and Great Britain. This chapter also identifies a range of possible intervening variables that could affect ideas and knowledge about migration, including migratory history, demographic factors and political system.

in Managing labour migration in Europe
Theory and methods
Alex Balch

This chapter introduces the theories and concepts that are applied to the case studies of Spain and Great Britain and develops a series of hypotheses regarding the role of ideas and knowledge in policy change. It features different models or approaches to the policy process and policy change that are applicable to the two case studies in this volume. These are the Epistemic Communities Hypothesis (ECH), the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF), and Discourse Coalitions (DC) approach.

in Managing labour migration in Europe
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Labour migration policy change in Spain
Alex Balch

This chapter presents the results of the research on labour migration policy change in Spain from 1995 to 2008. It briefly explores Spain's migratory history and potential intervening variables or broader institutional factors and associated discourses in Spain that are potentially relevant to subsequent discussions of policy towards labour migration. This study has identified two main shifts in policy. These are the restrictive approach where divergence between stakeholders and the government emerged after 2000 and the move to a more market-led, liberal approach after the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) election victory of 2004 and the subsequent amendment to the Immigration Act.

in Managing labour migration in Europe
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Labour migration policy change in the UK
Alex Balch

This chapter presents the results of the research on labour migration policy change in Great Britain from 1995 to 2008. It discusses labour migration governance, particularly the broader institutional factors, associated discourses and migratory history of Britain. The British policy in the mid-1990s was one based on a constellation of ideas and arguments around migration that can be traced back to the 1950s. The shift to a more positive reorientation to labour migration came in 2000 with the announcement of ‘managed migration’. This new direction was about recognising the potentially huge benefits of migration, and changing policies to be adapted to the global economy by bringing in new ideas, including from other countries, and carrying out more research on migration in Britain.

in Managing labour migration in Europe
Alex Balch

This chapter examines the influence of the European Union (EU) on labour migration policy-making in Spain and Great Britain and evaluates the impact of Europeanisation on immigration policy. The analysis reveals that the Spanish policy on immigration as a system constructed with an explicitly EU-dimension does seem to be more receptive to subsequent EU developments than the British. Despite this, both Spain and Great Britain have arrived at a similar policy position on labour migration via different routes at different times, and with varying levels of influence and institutional contacts with the EU. The findings support the argument that models of the policy process with more developed conceptualisations of the ways in which ideas and knowledge play a role in policy-making might be better suited to understanding how the EU affects domestic policy-making.

in Managing labour migration in Europe
Odeas, knowledge and policy change
Alex Balch

This chapter analyses what a comparison of the labour migration policy in Spain and Great Britain tells us about the central question concerning the role of ideas and knowledge in policy change. The labour migration policies in both countries tended to be quite complex with ad-hoc, incremental changes made to schemes that had been built up to respond to specific, often episodic, needs and were then used for purposes other than those that they were designed for. The reframing of policy in Britain post-2000, and in Spain post-2004, was characterised by significant institutional and organisational reforms involving a redistribution of policy-making and implementing powers, chiefly between the interior, labour and education ministries, and also changes in terms of the hierarchy and location of decision making.

in Managing labour migration in Europe
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Alex Balch

This chapter sums up the key findings of this study on labour migration policy in Spain and Great Britain. The comparison of these two European Union members highlighted the value of comparative research on labour migration policy. It was also observed that the contemporary governance of labour migration is becoming more technical and based on economic utilitarian arguments, and this has implications in terms of our understanding of the ways political questions around immigration are changing and the ways in which expertise can play a role in the policy-making process. This chapter also discusses the usefulness of the various theoretical frameworks and potential avenues for future research.

in Managing labour migration in Europe