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Governing Migrant Workers at a Distance: Managing the Temporary Status of Guestworkers in Taiwan


International Migration

Published online on


This paper explores how a liberal democratic state keeps migrant workers in temporary status by preventing their permanent settlement. Using Taiwan’s guestworker policy as an example, we argue that through expertise discourses and strategies of “governance at a distance” involving private sector, the Taiwan government has formulated policies and implemented measures that effectively kept guestworkers in temporary status. Analyzing Taiwan’s guestworker policy helps us to understand how the state and its collaborators work together to enhance the control capacity over migrants, while at the same time, enabling the state to keep its liberal pretense.