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Exploring the trajectories of highly skilled migration law and policy in Japan and the UK

Wakisaka, D. & Cardwell, P. J. ORCID: 0000-0002-7485-3474 (2021). Exploring the trajectories of highly skilled migration law and policy in Japan and the UK. Comparative Migration Studies, 9, 43. doi: 10.1186/s40878-021-00251-3


Japan and the UK appear to have few commonalities in terms of their history of and approach to migration law and policy. However, strong similarities in their contemporary approaches can be detected. Migration sits at the very top of the national political agendas and both have undertaken successive, major policy reforms over the past decade. Both have governments publicly committed to policies to attract ‘highly skilled’ migrants, with a restrictive approach towards ‘unskilled’ migrants. This article draws out the similarities and differences of migration law and policy in Japan and the UK via their respective legislative structures and policy trajectories on highly skilled migration. The article argues that Japan and the UK promote a market-driven model which enables highly skilled migration to be ‘sold’ to publics believed to be hostile to increased migration. Yet, the rapid changes in policy and revising of applicable rules often prevents the successful recruitment of highly skilled migrants to both countries.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Publisher Keywords: Highly skilled migration, migration policy, migration law, points based system, Japan, United Kingdom, Brexit
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
K Law
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
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