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Table 2 Theoretical migration categories based on positive and negative liberty types

From: A theory of migration: the aspirations-capabilities framework

   Positive liberty
(‘freedom to’; capabilities)
  Low High
Negative liberty (‘freedom from’; external constraints)      Low Precarious migration
Generally short-distance, often internal, by relatively poor or impoverished people vulnerable to exploitation, i.e., poor rural-to-urban migrants, undocumented labour migrants, ‘failed’ asylum-seekers, internal displacees) (relevant theories: historical structural; dual labour-market)
Distress migration
Deprivation of mobility freedom through absence of reasonable option to stay; applies to refugees fleeing potentially life-threatening conditions but possessing the resources to move abroad and obtain legal status (relevant theories: historical structural; network; new economics of labour migration)
     High Improvement migration
Internal and international, often through networks, recruitment and pooling of family resources (relevant theories: new economics of labour migration; network and internal dynamics; cumulative causation; dual labour-market; mobility transition)
‘Free migration’
relatively unconstrained mobility in and between wealthy countries or by wealthy people, skilled workers, ‘lifestyle’ migrants (relevant theories: neo-classical; human capital; mobility transition)