Bridging the Institutional Gaps: International Education as a Migration Industry

Gracia Liu-Farrer, An Huy Tran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the education-migration industry that has channelled students from China and Viet Nam into Japan over the past three decades and discusses the conditions for the emergence of such an industry, the major actors and the reasons for their changing roles and practices. It argues that the education-migration industry in Japan emerged because of the discrepant institutional logics. Japan's reluctance to open the door for labour import, despite its acute labour shortage, has turned international education into a sanctioned channel of labour migration and thereby created opportunities for international education to become a thriving migration industry. As long as this institutional gap remains, government regulations will only create new sources of power and profits for brokers who can navigate complex regulations and employ illicit means to satisfy the legal requirements. The education-migration industry is therefore a derivative of Japan's immigration regime and actively interacts with government policies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-249
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Migration
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jun

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography


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