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Laurie Berg


Laurie joined the Law Faculty in 2009. She is a graduate in law of the University of New South Wales, New York University and University of Sydney. 

Her research advances the rights of low-waged temporary migrant workers in Australia and the normative claims for justice of these largely invisible communities. Her recent research projects include a ground-breaking empirical study of non-residents working in home across Australia as au pairs. Laurie is currently working wth Bassina Farbenbum on the first extensive researc into temporay migrant wokers'access to remedies for employment-related harmsin Australia.

Before coming to UTS, Laurie worked at Human Rights First, in New York, in the International Humanitarian Law Program of the Australian Red Cross and as Co-Convenor of the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (NSW).

Image of Laurie Berg
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law
LLB Bachelor of Laws (UNSW), BA (Hons) (UNSW), Master of Laws (NYU), PhD (Syd)
+61 2 9514 3759

Research Interests

  • Immigration and labour law
    Migrant Rights at Work: Law's precariousness at the intersection of migration and labour, published by Routledge, 2016.
  • Immigration and domestic work
    Research project on the way that immigration status shapes the work of au pairs and other domestic workers
  • Sexual orientation and gender identity in the context of asylum determinations
Can supervise: Yes

Available for undergraduate, postgraduate coursework and higher degree research supervision in:

  • Immigration Law
  • Refugee Law
  • Administrative Law
  • Refugee Law and Practice
  • Citizenship and Immigration Law
  • Administratve Law


Berg, L.A. 2016, Migrant Rights at Work: Law's precariousness at the intersection of migration and labour, 1st, Routledge, London.
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Public debates about the terms of membership and inclusion have intensified as developed economies increasingly rely on temporary migrant labour. While most agree that temporary migrant workers are entitled to the general protection of employment laws, temporary migrants have, by definition, restricted rights to residence, full social protections and often to occupational and geographic mobility. This book raises important ethical questions about the differential treatment of temporary and unauthorised migrant workers, and permanent residents, and where the line should be drawn between exploitation and legitimate employment. Taking the regulatory reforms of Australia as a key case study, Laurie Berg explores how the influence of immigration law extends beyond its functions in regulating admission to and exclusion from a country. Berg examines the ways in which immigration law and enforcement reconfigure the relationships between migrant workers and employers, producing uncertain and coercive working conditions. In presenting an analytical approach to issues of temporary labour migration, the book develops a unique theoretical framework, contending that the concept of precariousness is a more fruitful way than equality or vulnerability to evaluate and address issues of temporary migrant labour. The book will be of great interest to scholars and practitioners of immigration law and employment law and policy.
Crock, M. & Berg, L.A. 2011, Immigration, Refugees and Forced Migration: Law, Policy and Practice in Australia, 1st, Federation Press, Annandale.
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This book provides a comprehensive analysis of immigration law in Australia and of the political, social and cultural forces that have shaped and are shaping it. It explains the momentous changes that have occurred in law and policy since the first attempts, in December 1989, to `codify decision-making through detailed regulations. It is a study of revolution and counter-revolution: of the impact that the courts and tribunals have had on law and policy through the review of migration decisions; and of the increasingly extreme steps taken by government to assert control over every aspect of its immigration program.


Berg, L.A. 2015, 'Hiding in Plain Sight: Au Pairs in Australia' in Cox, R. (ed), Sisters or Servants? Au Pairs' Lives in Global Context, Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp. 187-202.
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Berg, L.A. 2013, 'Migrating Rights' in Arvanitakis, J. & Matthews, I. (eds), The Citizen in the 21st Century, Inter-Disciplinary Press, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, pp. 63-72.
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Berg, L.A. & Millbank, J. 2013, 'Constructing the Personal Narratives of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Asylum Claimants' in Goldberg, S.B. (ed), Sexuality and Equality Law, Ashgate, Burlington, pp. 275-299.
Berg, L.A. & Millbank, J. 2013, 'Developing a Jurisprudence of Transgender Particular Social Group' in Thomas Spijkerboer (ed), Fleeing Homophobia: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Asylum, Routledge, Oxford, pp. 121-153.
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Berg, L.A. & Millbank, J. 2011, 'Constructing the Personal Narratives of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Asylum Claimants' in Robson, R. (ed), Sexuality and Law - Volume III: Sexual Freedom, Ashgate, Farnham, Surrey, pp. 321-349.
Berg, L.A., Samson, A., Robinson, P.K. & Wills, J. 2009, 'Economic Migrants, the Banana Supply Chain, and the London Living Wage: Three Cases of Global Civil Society Activism on Poverty' in Fiona Holland (ed), Global Civil Society, Sage Publications, London, UK, pp. 166-185.
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Berg, L.A. 2011, 'Refugee claims on the basis of transgender identity: trends in the case law', Fleeing Homophobia: Asylum claims related to sexual orientation and gender identity in the EU, Amsterdam, Holland.
Berg, L.A. 2011, 'Access to Justice for Temporary Migrant Workers in Australia: An Immigration Law-Based Proposal', Law and Society Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco.
Berg, L.A. 2010, 'That Which We Call a Rose, the Multiple Characterizations of Irregular Migrants under International Human Rights law', International Political Theory Conference, 'Thinking (With)Out Borders II', University of St Andrews, UK.
Berg, L.A. 2010, 'Labour market necessities or racial exclusion: The rise and rise of English language requirements in skilled visa categories', Migration Institute of Australia, Annual Conference, Sydney, Australia.
Berg, L.A. 2009, 'Private practice: The partial citizenship of temporary migrant workers in Australia', Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia Biennial Conference, 'Strengthening Multiculturalism and Building Social Inclusion', Shepparton, Vic.
Berg, L.A. 2007, 'Intersectionality and the Rights of Unauthorized Migrants', Association of Legal and Social Philosophy: 'Aliens and Nations', Keele University, United Kingdom.

Journal articles

Berg, L.A. 2013, 'Book Review: Susan Kneebone and Julie Debeljak, Transnational Crime and Human Rights', Australian International Law Journal, vol. 20, pp. 203-206.
Berg, L.A. 2011, ''Mate Speak English, You're in Australia Now': English language requirements in skilled migration', The Alternative Law Journal, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 110-115.
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Berg, L.A. 2010, 'Reforms to Skilled Migration', The Alternative Law Journal, vol. 35, no. 3, pp. 179-180.
Berg, L.A. & Millbank, J. 2009, 'Constructing the Personal Narratives of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Asylum Claimants', Journal of Refugee Studies, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 195-223.
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This article draws upon psychological and sociological literature to explore the issues that arise in eliciting and presenting a refugee narrative when the claim is based upon sexual orientation. In particular we explore the psychological âstage modelâ of sexual identity development and examine the pervasive impact this model has had upon decision-makersâ âpre-understandingâ of sexual identity development as a uniform and linear trajectory.
Berg, L.A. & Loughnan, A. 2009, 'Preface - W(h)ither Human Rights?', Public Space: The Journal of Law and Social Justice, vol. 4, pp. 1-2.
Berg, L. & Samson, A. 2009, 'Space for Economic Migrants? Poverty, Migrants and Australian Civil Society'.
Berg, L.A. 2007, 'At the Border and Between the Cracks: The Precarious Position of Irregular Migrant Workers under International Law', Melbourne Journal of International Law, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 1-34.
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This article aims to identify jurisprudence which advances the standards of treatment of unauthorised migrants in the context of often hostile domestic laws and political rhetoric. Due to its universalist and humanist underpinnings, many would consider international human rights law to be a natural source of rights protecting migrant workers. However, human rights doctrine takes a chequered approach to the protection of those living or working in a foreign state without visa authorisation. Even the Migrant Workers Convention recognises states sovereign prerogative over immigration control, and thereby fails to cater to the especially precarious position of irregular migrants who decline to assert their rights for fear of facing sanctions under immigration laws. It is argued that we need to look to regional judicial forums to find international legal doctrine which articulates a progressive legal framework robustly protective of irregular migrants rights. This article canvasses jurisprudence in the regional Human Rights Courts in Europe and the Americas which succeeds, in different ways, at decoupling the absolute discretion of states to regulate border control from the substantive rights of irregular migrants nce present in a host state.
Berg, L.A. 2004, 'Abu Graib - International Legal Standards Pertaining to torture and Degrading and Inhumane Treatment', Human Rights Defender, vol. 13, pp. 24-24.


Berg, L.A., Banki, S., Stubbs, M., Duffill, P., Rice, S., Hartley, L., McGaughey, F., Kerdo, P. & Orchard, P. Office for Teaching and Learning, Cth 2016, Social Justice Exercise Manual.
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Berg, L.A., Banki, S., Stubbs, M., Rice, S., Duffill, P., Kerdo, P., Hartley, L., Orchard, P. & McGaughey, F. Office of Teaching and Learning, Cth 2016, Social Justice Case Studies.
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