Student visas, undocumented labour, and the boundaries of legality: Chinese migration and English as a foreign language education in the Republic of Ireland

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Abstract

This article studies Chinese student migrants who are at risk of becoming undocumented through their engagement with the labour market in the Republic of Ireland. The migrants I am concerned with are not elite dual-passport holders, but rather individuals who strategically participate in transnational migration as part of an emerging Chinese middle class. By closely examining the interrelation between the educational sector and migration industry through the everyday lives of Chinese student migrants, I argue that criteria set up by states are often translated into bureaucratic categories which can be manufactured and commercially supplied in the process of migration.

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