Croatian International Relations Review

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Mojca Pajnik

The article addresses the social and economic conditions of migrant workers from the former Yugoslav states who form the vast majority of the migrant population in Slovenia. Based on the analysis of policies that regulate the work of “foreigners” and on the assessment of recent anti-crisis measures we argue that the current securitization approach, which aims to protect the national labour mar-ket, exacerbates the poor work and life conditions of migrants. We look into the current massive layoffs of migrant workers due to the closing of companies and the subsequent return of migrants to their countries of birth, which is a trend supported by “circular migration” policies. Furthermore, we explore recent xenophobic sentiments, as well as emerging solidarity with migrants. Particular attention is devoted to nuances in the definitions of migrants that are motivated by the protectionist-prone ideologies of a young state. The article relies on data on migration trends and policies during the recent period (2008–2012), but also draws on interviews and focus groups with migrants. The issues raised are debated with theories of citizenship. Namely, we discuss the processes of “(de)citizenization” of migrants in Slovenia and the constructions by which former “co-nationals” were turned into “third country nationals.”