The WTO/GATS Mode 4, International Labour Migration Regimes and Global Justice
36 Pages Posted: 18 May 2007
Date Written: May 18, 2007
This paper asks whether the model of international labour migration regulation found in the WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) Mode 4 conforms to principles of global justice. To answer this question on the backdrop of the complex set of policy considerations relating to labour migration, I explore four competing theories of global justice: Cosmopolitanism; Statist Realism; Rawlsian Society-of-Peoples; and Nationalism. While the initial assumptions of these approaches are far removed from each other, and their ideal prescriptions seem mutually incompatible, a shift to non-ideal formulations reveals a broad range of commonalities and complementarities. From these one may derive general principles that delineate the common ground of international migration regimes that might be morally acceptable to all approaches. These include the encouragement of global distributive justice; the protection of basic human rights of migrants; promotion of the effectiveness of migration policy; and emergency safeguards for migration receiving states. As analyzed in the article's final section, the GATS Mode 4 does not satisfy any of these requirements.
Keywords: WTO, GATS, Labor Migration, Immigration, Global Justice, Rawls, Cosmopolitanism, Human Rights
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