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Unit information: Migration and Labour Exploitation in the Global Economy in 2021/22

Unit name Migration and Labour Exploitation in the Global Economy
Unit code LAWDM0160
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Novitz
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


Migrants are often subject to various forms of exploitation when they participate in labour markets. This unit is designed to offer students with an understanding of how migrant vulnerability is generated through legal and economic structures. We begin the unit by exploring the relationship between migration and economic globalisation. We then introduce students to a range of internationally recognised labour standards, which will function throughout the unit as a normative yardstick to measure the labour market experiences of migrants. We then consider how trade in goods/services and capital mobility act as major drivers of migration, and also study some recent efforts to use mechanisms in trade agreements to protect labour rights. The next two topics explores two forms of migration present in the current global economy—those migrants who are trafficked across borders and those who participate in guestworker programmes. The next four topics allow students to delve more deeply into the experiences of particular categories of workers—domestic workers, asylum seekers, agricultural workers, and sex workers—as a way to explore the broader themes of the unit.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. actively demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the multilevel legal frameworks and how these regulate the experience and treatment of migrants within the labour market
  2. demonstrate a critical understanding of how legal and economic structures generate vulnerability,
  3. appreciate and evaluate how legal structures may also protect the interests of migrants,
  4. to critically read primary legal sources and be able to contextualise the legal issues arising from the experiences of migrants within the labour market
  5. refer to and analyse theoretical studies and secondary materials,
  6. investigate these issues through an interdisciplinary lens, and
  7. gain and practice the skills needed to research independently in this topic.

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a variety of asynchronous and synchronous activities.

Assessment Details

2 x summative assessments: 1x coursework and 1 x Timed Open Book Assessment with a specified word count

The assessment will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.

Formative assessment opportunities will be provided during the year.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. LAWDM0160).