International Migration Law

Subject LAWS70365 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

April, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 09-Mar-2016
Teaching Period 06-Apr-2016 to 12-Apr-2016
Assessment Period End 04-Jul-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 14-Dec-2015
Census Date 06-Apr-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 27-May-2016

This subject has a quota of 30 students. Please refer to the Melbourne Law Masters website for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24-26 hours
Total Time Commitment:

Total Time Commitment:

136-150 hours

The pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Students would benefit from having some prior understanding of international human rights law and it is strongly recommended that students have completed prior study in international law, for example, the subject below:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis and critique of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and to critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact Student Equity and Disability Support.


Prof Brian Opeskin



Professor Brian Opeskin (Coordinator)

Phone: +61 3 8344 6190

Subject Overview:

International migration is a topic of ever-increasing interest as a result of globalisation of labour markets and demographic pressures in sending and receiving states. This subject analyses the framework of international law that regulates the flow of people across international borders as regular or irregular migrants. It also equips students to understand the human rights of migrants who live or work in countries outside the state of their nationality. The subject aims to give students a broad understanding of connections between relevant legal frameworks rather than detailed knowledge of specialised regimes, and it is not a course in domestic migration law. The subject draws on a mix of international and Australian case studies, which befits Australia’s position as a major migrant-receiving country for over 60 years.

Principal topics include:

  • Contemporary patterns of international migration
  • Nationality and statelessness
  • Regulating entry of persons
  • Regulating exit of persons
  • Refugees and asylum-seekers
  • International labour migration
  • International human rights of migrants
  • Human trafficking and smuggling
  • Emerging migration issues (eg environmental migration).
Learning Outcomes:

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the international legal principles regulating international migration, both in treaties and customary law
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness of these legal rules
  • Be an engaged participant in debate regarding emerging and contemporary issues in the field
  • Have an detailed understanding of the international legal principles regulating nationality and statelessness, the movement of people into and out of states, and the treatment of non-nationals within a state
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating to international migration law, and to critically evaluate existing principles and concepts with creativity and autonomy, including evaluating national migration laws and practices relative to international legal principles
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging legal issues relating to international migration law
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding international migration law to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • Be able demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a learner in the field of international migration law.
  • Take-home examination (5,000-6,000 words as specified in the subject reading guide) (100%) (27 - 30 May)
  • 10,000 word research paper (100%) (4 July) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator

A minimum of 75% attendance is a hurdle requirement.

Prescribed Texts:

Specialist printed materials will be made available free of charge from the Melbourne Law School prior to the pre-teaching period.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Government Law
Graduate Diploma in Human Rights Law
Graduate Diploma in International Law
Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies
Master of Human Rights Law
Master of Law and Development
Master of Laws
Master of Public Administration
Master of Public Administration (Enhanced)
Master of Public and International Law

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