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Migrant Qualification Recognition as Control: Governmentality, Education and the Movement of People between Borders

Education, Immigration and Migration

ISBN: 978-1-78756-045-1, eISBN: 978-1-78756-044-4

Publication date: 10 July 2019


This chapter will use the lens of Foucault’s governmentality to critique the use of foreign qualification recognition (FQR) in Australia’s skilled migration programme. Foucault suggests that an imperative for governments is to find ways to manage its population to ensure its security and well-being. Foucault notes the explosion of measures designed to facilitate this imperative. We argue that FQR’s use in Australia’s skilled migration programme is another such measure. It is a process designed to ascertain the relative value of one person against another using educational attainment as the meter. We examine the literature on the subject and find there are three key themes: scale, barriers and the persistence of the problem. We explore the concept of value in FQR and find arguments are divisible according to two camps. The first finds that an education qualification represents some objective and meritocratic value that a migrant possesses and that the barriers and persistence of problems are traceable to an inability to find the right way to realize this value. The second supposes that qualifications essentially represent a claim that need not have any basis in a form of essential value. Using Foucault’s governmentality, we suggest that FQR’s primary source of value in Australia’s skilled migration process is its utility as a part of a regime that identifies and classifies migrants and establishes a regime with which to assure governments of the acquisition of a population it believes are most likely to contribute to its security and future prosperity.



Hurley, P., Brooks, J.S. and Wilkinson, J. (2019), "Migrant Qualification Recognition as Control: Governmentality, Education and the Movement of People between Borders", Arar, K., Brooks, J.S. and Bogotch, I. (Ed.) Education, Immigration and Migration (Studies in Educational Administration), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 95-107.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © Peter Hurley, Jeffrey S. Brooks and Jane Wilkinson, 2019