“Institutional uncertainty” as a technique of migration governance. A comparative legal perspective.
Uncertainty can be regarded as one of the most distinctive traits of migration processes. However, uncertainty is not only the result of a congeries of social, demographic and economic factors (including social and cultural uprooting), but sometimes appears also to be the product of governmental laws, policies and practices. Adopting a comparative approach, this paper aims to analyse how, in Europe and beyond, migration policies and laws play a role in fostering systemic and pervasive uncertainty, which permeates migrants’ entitlements to rights and therefore affects their agency and life opportunities. Based on the concept of “foreigners’ legal status”, uncertainty will be explored with reference to: a) the type of legal status; b) the requirements for obtaining and/or withdrawing a legal status; and c) the rights attached to a specific legal status. In order to conduct the analysis, the study will introduce and rely upon a new heuristic framework: that of “institutional uncertainty”.
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