On a steep learning curve in the immigration legislation: Taiwan's proximity to sovereignty, selectivity and benevolence

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    The frequent movements of labour, commodities, services and ideas crossing state borders are the embodiment of globalisation; a ‘migration state’ (Hollifield 2004) is a derived result that poses challenges to the nation-state’s sovereignty. A ‘migration state’ is caught in the contradicting interests between economic openness and political closure (2004: 193). This trading-cum-garrison state has to constantly amend immigration governance in order to select those migrants who contribute to economic development by their labour, services or investment, but reject those who are perceived as posing a danger to public finances, health or security. In this regard, being a major destination for labour and marriage migration in East Asia that received 719,749 foreign workers (MoL 2018) and 537,452 foreign-born spouses (NIA 2018) as of June 2018, Taiwan is no different than other neighbouring migration states in East Asia. However, practices undertaken by Taiwan to balance economic openness and political closure are particularly formulated in ways that enable Taiwan to deal with an uncommon challenge: her internationally contested sovereignty. A migration state, in its prototype, exercises its sovereignty in the hope of improving efficiency. In reverse, Taiwan uses its migration governance to prove that it is sovereign (Friedman 2015). When doing so, Taiwan also has to respond to the internal and external pressures from the U.S. and civil society in order to defend her self-claimed image as a benevolent protector of migrants’ human rights. In this light, Taiwan is on a steep learning curve to fend off contestations to its sovereignty and a benevolent self-image whilst maintaining its selectivity to ensure the attainment of economic benefits.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEast Asian Migration Governance in Comparative Perspective: Norm Diffusion, Politics of Identity, Citizenship
    EditorsGunter Schubert, Franziska Plümmer, Anastasiya Bayok
    Number of pages27
    ISBN (Print)9780367559021
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2020

    Publication series

    NameRoutledge Series on Asian Migration


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