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Latin American Studies | Migration Studies | Race and Ethnicity | Sociology | Work, Economy and Organizations


Over the last three decades, Chile has experienced transformative migratory flows, becoming more diverse in the process. As migrants from Latin American and Caribbean countries settle in Chile, they often face stereotypes laminating race, ethnicity, and nationality and shape paths toward inclusion through the job market. Amid the implementation of visa restrictions and the rollout of a new migration law, current debates over migration foreground ideas about which groups productively contribute to the nation’s development – discourses often linked to labour. Government rhetoric and policy debates frame a broader discussion of the role of migration in Chile, with both Chileans and migrants alike employing discourses of hard work and discipline to dialectically define what it takes to be a “contributing migrant”. Drawing on ethnographic data, I illustrate how migrants make claims to inclusion through their labour, thus engaging with a coercive form of neoliberal governance proffering only conditional recognition.