Martin Ruhs at COMPAS (University of Oxford) Breakfast Briefing

October 18, 2013 – October 19, 2013 all-day

The Price of Rights by Martin RuhsFriday 18 October


COMPAS (School of Anthropology)
University of Oxford
58 Banbury Road,
Oxford, OX2 6QS

More migrants, fewer rights?: How shall we balance openness and rights in labour immigration policy?

Many low-income countries and development organizations are calling for greater liberalization of labor immigration policies in high-income countries. At the same time, human rights organizations and migrant rights advocates demand more equal rights for migrant workers. The Price of Rights, a new book by COMPAS economist Martin Ruhs, shows why you cannot always have both.

Examining labor immigration policies in over forty countries, as well as policy drivers in major migrant-receiving and migrant-sending states, Martin Ruhs finds that there are trade-offs in the policies of high-income countries between openness to admitting migrant workers and some of the rights granted to migrants after admission. Insisting on greater equality of rights for migrant workers can come at the price of more restrictive admission policies, especially for lower-skilled workers.

In this breakfast briefing, Martin Ruhs will give an overview of his analysis and discuss the implications for global and national debates about migrant rights, labor migration and development.

For more information about the book, please visit this title’s page on the official Princeton University Press website:

Speaker: Martin Ruhs, University Lecturer in Political Economy at Kellogg College and Senior Researcher at COMPAS

To view this event on the University of Oxford website, please follow this link:


“In this excellent book, Martin Ruhs presents a fresh analysis of the reasons why many countries, whether they be high or low income, restrict the rights of migrant workers. His carefully researched volume will be of great interest to policymakers and migration experts across the globe.”–Frank Laczko, International Organization for Migration

“This may be the most important book on migration in the last decade. Focusing on the trade-offs between openness to more migration and limitations on migrants’ rights, Martin Ruhs tackles one of the fundamental challenges of the twenty-first century: how to resolve the tensions between national security and human rights.”–Khalid Koser, Geneva Centre for Security Policy

“In analyzing the trade-off between liberalizing international labor migration and extending social and economic rights for migrants, this book moves the debate about migrant rights from ideals to realities. It is a must-read for those working in the fields of human rights, development, globalization, and international governance, as well as for specialists and organizations dealing with migration-related issues.”–Philip Martin, University of California, Davis

“While it is not easy to write a forcefully argued book about the rights of migrant workers, Ruhs succeeds because he opts for a strong, pragmatic approach. He clearly commands a broad and diverse literature, and he makes his case with extensive knowledge and an array of empirical studies about a range of countries.”–Saskia Sassen, Columbia University and author of Territory, Authority, Rights

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