This article attempts to provide a critical understanding of the dual signification of “precarity”. It explores what “precarity” as a concept may potentially offer to studies of the changing contemporary political economy of migration. It discusses shifting trends in global migration and point to tendencies for a possible convergence between “South” and “North”, “East” and “West”. Based on a review of current advances in research, it discusses, with reference to the classical work of Karl Polanyi, the potential for a contemporary “countermovement” which would challenge the precarity of migrants. Bringing forward the issue of the “space for civil society” the article addresses a still lingering democratic deficit in the global governance of migration.
The article is relevant to policymakers, trade unions and civil society organizations. It contributes to the understanding of policy making processes in emerging multilevel global governance and focuses on issues of precarization, migration, and the implementation and accountability of human, migrant and labour rights.