The implication of the new political economy approach is that the state is working towards the best interests of employers through facilitating the exploitation of immigrant workers. However, the reality is considerably more complex than that. Whilst it is important to take with a pinch of salt the argument that ‘there are no alternatives’ to liberalisation, there are no easy answers when it comes to immigration or the management of labour markets. Today’s immigration policies play out across a radically different economic context, where good and stable jobs are increasingly difficult to find, particularly for those with ‘low’ skills – a development that has intensified distributional conflicts between workers in all countries under study. Whilst immigrants are often blamed for the loss of good-quality jobs, the fundamental issue lies in the underlying political economy. Immigration status conditions can make regular immigrants vulnerable to exploitation by undermining their bargaining power within the employment relationship.