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Lecture | Leiden Interdisciplinary Migration Seminar (LIMS)

Networking Through Kafala: Understanding transnational networks in the governance of health care migration to the Gulf

  • Crystal Ennis
Thursday 31 May 2018
Leiden Interdisciplinary Migration Seminars 2017-2018
Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Conference Room (2.60)

LIMS Talk by Crystal Ennis (LIAS): ‘Networking Through Kafala: Understanding transnational networks in the governance of health care migration to the Gulf’

Migration governance takes places across multiple levels and sites of authority. It intersects with local regulation like sponsorship and immigration regimes, but is not determined by these alone. Absent of clear ownership, the governance of skilled migration extends beyond state-level control and engages formal and informal transnational networks. Gender, race, and class also significantly influence the nature of regulation and the relationship between expatriates and the state. More discussion on migrant spaces and experiences in the Gulf centre on the construction labour camp, while some others explore the "experts" or "knowledge workers." This chapter examines an in-between skill class – nurses, midwives, and health care technicians, in the navigation of sponsorship regimes and competing regulatory authority. Centring on the case of the Sultanate of Oman, it explores formal and informal networks through governmental and nongovernmental global migration advocacy and bargaining with a view of the skilled migration flows across the GCC region. At one level, regional organisations like ASEAN and SAARC coordinate efforts for unified approaches to migration governance. At another level, individual migrants assert their agency through developing their own (online and personal) networks to support and navigate complex legal environments. Little scholarship examines the role of regional/transnational networks in migration governance, focusing instead on regulatory regimes of sending or receiving states. This paper explores various scales of health migration governance in the context of globalised labour spaces.


The Leiden Interdisciplinary Migration Seminars (LIMS) aim at fostering further discussion across disciplines on migration-related topics and creating an open dialogue between the speakers and the attendees. The seminars are a platform for those at Leiden University working on migration-related topics.

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