Robi Rado: Trading in People and Trading in Services

Trading in People and Trading in Services: The Political Economy of Indians’ International Labour Mobility, the Development Project and International Law

Robi Rado

International law increasingly governs whether, and the manner in which, people may move to other countries to work. This governance is often justified using claims about development in workers’ states of origin. In his doctoral thesis, Robi is seeking to develop a better understanding of the international legal regimes that govern Indians’ international labour mobility, and of the relationship between those regimes and the development project. The thesis aims to elaborate the political economy of those regimes, and to unpack the assumptions underpinning the expansion of international law and governance in this area. It argues that international law and the development project are both playing crucial roles in shaping Indians’ international labour mobility, and that these roles are more important than, and of a different nature to, those commonly recognised by scholars and policymakers. This paper forms part of Robi’s doctoral thesis. It considers how the Indian state approaches the connection between Indians’ international labour mobility and the development project in India, by analysing the discourse that emerges from a key Indian government report. The paper argues that the discourse emerging from the report connects Indians’ international labour mobility and the development project in a manner that is considerably more complex than is commonly appreciated.

Robi Rado is a PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow at Melbourne Law School. His current research interests are in the areas of law and development, international law and political economy (especially in relation to the global South), international trade law and international migration law. Robi holds Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Master of Laws degrees from the University of Melbourne. He previously worked as a corporate lawyer at Mallesons Stephen Jaques (now King & Wood Mallesons) in Melbourne and at Freshfields (now Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer) in London.


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