Dr Laavanya Kathiravelu, Division of Sociology, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
My research focuses on migration brokerage infrastructure and the role of employment-recruitment and placement agencies mediating labor migration from Nepal to Malaysia. Drawing on my ethnographic fieldwork in employment-recruitment, or manpower, agencies and state agencies in Kathmandu, Nepal, this working paper examines how state regulation on labor migration is intimately tied to the emergence of migration brokerage. I argue that this overlap between the state-institutionalized mediation and everyday social process of brokering often draw upon familiar local discourse on bikas (development), sapana (aspiration) and kaam (employment). Moreover, central to this brokerage is the unresolved tension between the ever-expanding labor recruitment business and ethical concerns for the il/licit practices that are used to recruit people for employment overseas. This paper contributes to the ongoing discussion within ‘the migration industry’ and brokerage in Asia.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Tina Shrestha is a Post-doctoral Fellow in the Asian Migrations Cluster at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. She received her PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Cornell University. Her doctoral research on Nepali migration and asylum seeking process in the United States has appeared in Studies in Nepali History and Society and in an edited volume Refugee Resettlement in the United States: Language, Policy, and Pedagogy. Her research at ARI focuses on brokerage and documentation in the employment recruitment agencies facilitating labor migration between Nepal and Malaysia.
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