Friday, March 22, 2013

Emergent Property: Abbreviation

The preeminence of the legal and political re-constitution of the overstayer -- that is, as being primarily illegal in resident status and thus excluded from the mainstream -- has the effect of distorting or misrepresenting other aspects of the overstayer which could reveal a middle ground or the possibility of a win-win resolution to migrant illegality.  I first surface this abbreviation property of migrant illegality in my summary discussion of Figure 1, arguing that migrant origin (a proxy for eligibility) and migrant space (a proxy for legal status) are among the key blind spots of migration policy makers who are guided solely by the legal-illegal dichotomy.

One key area where this abbreviation is evident is in the skilled-unskilled divide where an overstayer may be previously skilled (eligible but in illegal migrant space) but his lack of legal status locks him into the unskilled, informal markets.  Migrant utilizers may be aware of an overstayer's dormant skills but as they have reached the limits of their allowable rationalization (simply put, vested accommodation), they are forced to relegate the overstayer to below-potential job functions.  These abbreviated potentials still overflow into non-skill job areas such as overall consistency, reliability, thoroughness in work performance -- thus making a liability of the overstayer into an asset for the employer.  Iking, Gandi and Etimo (see Textboxes 2 and 3) completed or were at advanced stages in their education when they departed for Japan but now are reduced to manual labor in companies in the construction and service industries.

One compelling aspect of this abbreviation property in migrant illegality is its two-stage applicability, that is, in both the destination and source countries:  returning overstayers (recall Subaru and Bingo/Textbox 5) find that any technical skill acquired in Japan is basically inapplicable in the Philippine labor market.

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