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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

The agrifood-migration nexus: migration regimes and the politics of labour shortages in Italy and Sweden

Corrado, Alessandra; Pisacane, Lucio; Ferrari, Cristian Alarcon


The COVID-19 crisis has put the spotlight on the role of migrant workers as 'essential' for agrifood systems in Europe and elsewhere. The paper compares Italy and Sweden in terms of the interplay between labour shortages in agriculture and the policies facing migrant workers' exploitation within their respective agrifood systems. Our cases show how labour shortages are politically constructed and have become a key issue in the possibility for migrants to integrate within the current corporate-environment food regime. There are clear indications that a shift in agriculture is reshaping migration policymaking; with important consequences for how labour migration is being redefined and the impact on the future of agrifood systems in Europe. We conclude that national migration policy responses are politically conditioned by the way governments use state mechanisms and regulation to implement decisions produced by ideological positions on the future of labour, agriculture and food supply at the national level.


Migrant workers; labour shortages; migrant workers' exploitation; food regime; migrant labour in agriculture

Published in

Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
2024, Volume: 50, number: 5, pages: 1252-1276

    Sustainable Development Goals

    Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
    Reduce inequality within and among countries

    UKÄ Subject classification

    International Migration and Ethnic Relations

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