Online ExpertTrack in Politics & Society

Critical International Migration Law

4.2 (6 reviews)

Examine the history, context, and ever-evolving development of migration control exercised by sovereign states around the world.

Created by

The University of KentThe University of Kent

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Look behind the headlines and discover the real reasons why people migrate

This ExpertTrack is designed for anyone interested in developing a critical understanding of migration crises, what causes them, and how the law is implicated in their construction.

You’ll understand the who, what, and why of international migration, and the role of both international and domestic law in shaping the terrain.

You’ll also gain an insight into the role of states in exercising their sovereign right to control their borders, and the impact their policies and laws have in closing off legal routes to migration for those desperate to flee to safety.

Examine the complex laws and policies that inform migration law

You’ll start by exploring how law and policies have served both to protect states’ borders, as well as create vulnerability for migrants fleeing from civil war, generalised violence, extreme poverty, and other widespread human rights violations.

You’ll then engage in a critical evaluation of the human rights of migrants and ask whether international human rights law is truly universal.

Evaluate the political and philosophical discourses around international migration

The ExpertTrack will encourage you to critically examine law and its framing of the migrant experience.

You’ll demonstrate a critical understanding of the main international treaties which relate to migration, and evaluate the political discourses attached to the concept of international migration.

You’ll also explore the theoretical and interdisciplinary critiques of international migration law, and use legal materials to help formulate legal arguments concerning state practice.

Learn with international migration law experts at Kent Law School

Kent Law School is one of the UK’s leading law schools, offering a distinctive critical approach to their syllabuses, ultimately placing law within the wider context of society.

With a recognised excellence in teaching, world-class research, and an award-winning law clinic, they provide an intellectually stimulating environment for studying law, human rights law and international migration law.

Throughout the ExpertTrack, you’ll look beneath the surface of the law and study its complexity and contradictions, so that you finish with a deeper understanding and a wealth of new skills.

Key skills you will learn

  • How to conduct legal research
  • Critical evaluation from complex situations
  • How to summarise detailed information
  • Critical evaluation of legal consequences
  • Migration law

Learning outcomes

By the end of the ExpertTrack, you’ll be able to...

  • Develop an extensive knowledge and understanding of the main sources of international migration law.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the systems for the international protection of refugees and asylum seekers.
  • Apply a critical understanding of the main international treaties which relate to migration.
  • Evaluate the political discourses attached to contemporary international migration.
  • Classify the complex legal and comparative materials to formulate a complex legal argument concerning state practice
  • Identify the role of law in modern global migration patterns
  • Identify law's shortcomings in providing protection in the context of modern migration patterns.

Experience required

This ExpertTrack has been designed for anyone interested in law, human rights and international migration. You do not need any formal law experience or qualifications to benefit.

Getting started

This ExpertTrack will appeal to anyone interested in developing a critical understanding of the migration laws that ‘sit behind the headlines’.

It will be of specific interest to people working for national and international governmental and non-governmental organisations involved in the field of migration, and also lawyers wanting to deepen their knowledge base.

ExpertTrack course overview

  • Course 1

    4.2 (6 reviews)

    Explore how discourses and law frame migrants and migration and whether the notion of migration crisis is justified.

    1 test

    1 peer-graded assignment

    4 weeks

    3 hours per week

    • Week 1

      Introduction to Critical International Migration Law
      • Welcome to Week 1
      • History of migration and why people move
      • An examination of terminology
      • Weekly wrap up
    • Week 2

      What constitutes international migration law?
      • Welcome to Week 2
      • Sovereignty and its impact on migrants and migration
      • Three categories of migrant in treaty law
      • Weekly wrap up
    • Week 3

      Discourses on migration
      • Welcome to Week 3
      • Depictions of migrants and migration
      • Scholarly analysis of migrants as threats
      • Peer Graded Assignment
      • Weekly wrap up
    • Week 4

      Migration crises
      • Welcome to Week 4
      • The meaning of crisis
      • The work done by “crisis”
      • Weekly wrap-up
  • Course 2

    Investigate the role, reach, and scope of border controls in generating modern forms and means of flight.

    1 test

    1 peer-graded assignment

    4 weeks

    3 hours per week

    • Week 1

      Border controls and freedom of movement
      • Introduction
      • Border controls
      • The right to freedom of movement in international law
      • The impact of globalisation on migrant movements
      • Wrap up
    • Week 2

      Asylum seekers and refugees
      • Introduction
      • Analysis of the protections provided by the Refugee Convention 1951
      • Relevance of the Refugee Convention in the 21st century
      • Wrap up
    • Week 3

      Deterritorialisation of border controls
      • Introduction
      • A focus on visas
      • Focus on interdictions at sea
      • Consequences for migrants of deterritorialisation of border controls
      • Peer Graded Assignment
      • Wrap up
    • Week 4

      Human trafficking and smuggling of persons
      • Introduction
      • Key provisions of the Trafficking Protocol
      • Analysis of the Protocols
      • Wrap up
  • Course 3

    Investigate the extent to which international law protects the rights of non-refugee forced migrants.

    1 test

    1 peer-graded assignment

    4 weeks

    3 hours per week

    • Week 1

      Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
      • Introduction
      • The “discovery” of IDPs by the international community
      • IDP protection needs
      • The international response to IDP protection needs
      • Wrap up
    • Week 2

      Environmental displacement
      • Introduction
      • Calls for protection for “climate refugees”
      • Securitising the narratives
      • Wrap up
    • Week 3

      Enforcement: Immigration detention
      • Introduction
      • Immigration detention as “crimmigration" and data from the UK and the USA
      • International legal framework relating to detention of asylum seekers
      • Scholarly debates on the use of immigration detention
      • Wrap up
    • Week 4

      Human rights of undocumented migrants
      • Introduction
      • Shortcomings of the ICCPR and the Migrant Workers’ Convention
      • Scholarly Analysis of Universality Claims and the Person of the Undocumented Migrant
      • Wrap up

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World-class learning with The University of Kent

The University of Kent, the UK’s European university, is one of the country’s most dynamic universities. Established in 1965, it now has 19,850 students studying at its various campuses.

Meet your instructor

I am Senior Lecturer in Law at Kent Law School, University of Kent. I specialise in International Human Rights Law and International Migration Law.

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