PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS IN THE ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF INDONESIAN MIGRANT LABOUR IN HONG KONG

Wayne Palmer. 2013. Public-Private Partnerships in the Administration and Control of Indonesian Migrant Labour in Hong KongPolitical Geography 34: 1-9.

International legal understandings of sovereignty assume that states see the exercise of power within their territory by other states as a violation of exclusive rights. However, they may make exceptions, allowing other states to perform limited regulatory functions within their territory. For example, Hong Kong, which is a special administrative region in China with autonomy to administer international migration, has a policy that requires foreign states to endorse their citizens’ application for legal employment as domestic workers there. This policy enables consular offices to develop public-private partnerships with local migrant labour employment companies and through those arrangements extend their regulatory function into an extraterritorial setting. Using an Indonesian case study, this article shows how one consulate has harnessed the policy for the purpose of compelling Hong Kong recruiters to apply for a licence to provide job-matching services for its citizens. The power that Indonesia gains through the system has enabled a variety of extraterritorial interventions, which have had mixed results and particularly negative consequences for Indonesian migrant labour. Nevertheless, the arrangements reveal more about the subfield of world politics in which states demonstrate a clear preference for engaging with private individuals over other states concerning transnational governance matters in their own territory.

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