Migration infrastructures and the production of migrants' irregularity in Japan and the United Kingdom

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  • Waseda University


The article examines the migration infrastructures and pathways through which migrants move into, through and out of irregular status in Japan and the UK and how these infrastructures uniquely shape their migrant experiences of irregularity at key stages of their migration projects.
Our analysis brings together two bodies of migration scholarship, namely critical work on the social and legal production of illegality and the impact of legal violence on the lives of immigrants with precarious legal status, and on the role of migration infrastructures in shaping mobility pathways.
Drawing upon in-depth qualitative interviews with irregular and precarious migrants in Japan and the UK collected over a ten-year period, this article develops a threepronged analysis of the infrastructures of irregularity, focusing on infrastructures of entry, settlement and exit, casting a comparative light on the mechanisms that produce precarious and expendable migrant lives in relation to access to labour and labour conditions, access and quality of housing and law enforcement, and how migrants adapt, cope, resist or eventually are overpowered by them.

Bibliographic note

Not yet published as of 08/06/2021.


Original languageEnglish
JournalComparative Migration Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 7 Apr 2021


  • migration infrastructure, Japan, United Kingdom, irregular migration, immigration enforcement, informal labour, migration policy