The seminar with professor Georg Menz took place on June 9th, and was organised as a part of the E-factor project on Employer interests as an underrated factor in labour migration – an institutional approach. Prof. Menz gave a lecture titled “Employers Associations and the Political Economy of Immigration Policy: Lobbying and Growth Model Considerations”.
Existing accounts of business power explore the politics of lobbying, political influence and shaping policy outcomes. One fruitful avenue of scholarly inquiry has probed the role of organised business in shaping immigration policy. But by design, such argument can only hold for employment-related forms of migration, which are quantitatively not a major migration channel. Historically, employers did not pronounce themselves on the issue of asylum and other forms of legal migration, which they did not consider relevant for their purposes. But does this still hold true, given how quantitatively significant these channels have become and, if not, how does business position itself on the issue?
The talk will propose that existing accounts regarding the position of employers can be extended to cover non-economic forms of migration. Employers now also take a stance on these and follow their interests in doing so. The associations calibrate their lobbying strategy in line with their perceived human resource needs. British employers assume a more liberal stance because migrants of various skill levels can be accommodated in the British political economy, whereas German employers will prefer a more restrictive stance to avoid attracting immigrants who are less skilled and employable. This argument is related to the so-called “growth model” approach in comparative political economy, which thus far has not been brought into constructive dialogue with immigration policy.
Prof. Georg Menz holds the Dragas Chair in International Studies at Old Dominion University. He previously taught at the University of London and also held guest professorships at Vienna University, LUISS Carlo Luigi University, Australian National University, the European University Institute, the London School of Economics and the University of Pittsburgh. He has published widely in the fields of European politics, political economy, social and labor market policy, and immigration. His most recent book is entitled “Comparative Political Economy“. Previous major publications include “The Political Economy of Managed Migration” and “Varieties of Capitalism and Europeanization”.