This paper examines the way in which immigration law function as a form of labour market regulation, which directly structure and shape the employment relations of migrants in advanced industrialised countries. In particular, Temporary Migrant Workers Programmes (Tmwps) have rapidly expanded in recent years and have been actively promoted by national and global policy makers as a desirable labour migration instrument for host states, home states, and migrants themselves. Through analysing the regulatory design and operation of a contemporary Tmwp - Australia's Subclass 457 Visa scheme - this paper seeks to develop a conceptual framework to elucidate the legal production of ‘precarious migration status’ and its role in shaping certain vulnerabilities in migrant work relations. These vulnerabilities are coined 'hyper-dependence’ and ‘hyper-precarity’. Hyper-dependence refers to a migrant worker’s extreme dependence on and subordination to her sponsor/employer for the legal authorisation to work and reside in the host state. It is concerned with a high degree of labour unfreedom inherent in the ‘tie-in’ structure of Tmwps, where there are de jure and de facto restrictions on migrant workers to change employers, occupations, sectors, and workplaces. The notion of hyper-precarity refers to the tenuous nature of these migrants' job security, employment and social protections that arise from their precarious statuses under Tmwps.
Keywords: Immigration Law; Temporary Migrant Workers Programmes (Tmwp);; Australia's Subclass 457 Visa scheme, Hyper-dependence; Hyper-precarity.