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UndocNet Overview Leena Kumarappan London Metropolitan University Undocumented Migrants, Ethnic Enclaves and Networks: Opportunities, traps or class-based.

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Presentation on theme: "UndocNet Overview Leena Kumarappan London Metropolitan University Undocumented Migrants, Ethnic Enclaves and Networks: Opportunities, traps or class-based."— Presentation transcript:

1 UndocNet Overview Leena Kumarappan London Metropolitan University Undocumented Migrants, Ethnic Enclaves and Networks: Opportunities, traps or class-based constructs. http://www.UndocNet.org

2 Aims and objectives To build on macro and micro developments in the area of global migration within the current context To explore the labour market experiences and aspirations of undocumented migrants within these increasingly constrained environments To examine decisions to use or not use co-ethnic networks in the search for work, and for workers. To contribute to, and develop, the theoretical debates in the area of social capital.

3 Methodology The complexity of employment relationships and decision-making explored from the perspectives of undocumented migrant workers and migrant enclave entrepreneurs. Three country-of-origin groups: Bangladeshi, Chinese and from Turkey and Northern Cyprus including Kurds In-depth interviews with 55 undocumented workers and 24 ethnic enclave employers An asynchronous internet focus group with invited employers to discuss views and experiences

4 Fieldwork Undocumented worker interviews were conducted by trained community interviewers in the workers first languages Participants accessed through multiple starting points: community organisations, personal contacts, leafleting and cold calling, and through snowballing Employer interviews were conducted by the project researchers in English; employers accessed through multiple starting points Participants accessed through multiple starting points: community organisations and individuals, business associations, cold calling shops and businesses

5 Sample overview

6 The Worker Perspective Sonia McKay London Metropolitan University Undocumented Migrants, Ethnic Enclaves and Networks: Opportunities, traps or class-based constructs. http://www.UndocNet.org

7 Context Undocumented migrants – numbers unknown but potentially more than half million Routes of entry for legal migration closing Exclusion of labour law rights

8 Key consequences of undocumented status Fear, anxiety and isolation; Inability to travel, including returning home; Inability to access public services; Limitations on access to jobs; Exploitative treatment at the workplace; Problems regarding trust and disclosure in work; and Hostile attitudes from co-workers with status. But – not without regulation and agency

9 Poor treatment and harsh conditions 37 year old Bangladeshi restaurant worker in the UK 14 years Ex-cockle picker Employers tend to treat us bad, hassle us, mentality disturb us…and the people who are legally here, they treat us badly. This is how my time is being spent here, I am mentally suffering. I am 37 years of age…I love working but in Indian restaurants, people get no respect. People dont get paid properly if they are illegal. (Soumen) Very hard conditions; we lived in Liverpool. We had to take a coach to travel more than two hours to the seaside to work every day. Between April and May, the weather there is very cold. Even if you wear Wellington boots, you still get wet. And if you don't wear any boots, the water is just freezing. It was very hard work. You had to concentrate and move fast to pick up the cockles. If you stopped or you were too slow, you wouldn't get many cockles and you wouldn't be able to earn money.

10 Exclusion from statutory rights Undocumented worker in HSE study 33 year old Bangladeshi male in UK 12 years Lack of dismissal protection I don't have [any documents], because I work illegally, that's why maybe tomorrow they tell me sorry we don't need you anymore, in spite of being working there for over six months, if I had they can't sack me so easy. Non-payment of wages I worked in a couple of places where they didnt pay me for three to four weeks. I couldnt protest as I had no papers. There was a factory in [East London] and they didnt pay me for three months. When I protested there, they told me I had no papers so couldnt prove anything. (Anik)

11 Trapped Chinese student over- stayer in UK four years Chinese restaurant worker in UK 12 years They knew that you couldnt do anything about it; they knew that you couldnt find another job so easily; they might know that since I had become used to with working as a waitress, I might not even want to leave it for some other job. Yes…, that was part of the reason, I think. (Chow) Because the boss was rather loud mouthed. New recruits couldnt stand the way s/he shouted at people… I found it hard to take it too, but I knew I had to put up with it, because I needed the job, because I had no residential status. Some new recruits were so scared that they burst in to tears. (Bobby)

12 A system with clearly defined rules A hierarchy of jobs and routes to progression Established and understood rates of pay Methods of job progression Systems of training A London penalty Alternative forms of regulation

13 Progression routes Bangladeshi Mohit:, 32 yr old male, 6 yrs in UK Turkish Jain, 32 yr old male, 9 yrs in U) Rodja, 53 yr old female, 25 yrs in UK ) diswashercook DazaCook Kitchen porter Tandoori section Tandoori chef Chinese

14 Factors Time In the host country: The first two year I worked in restaurants as I didnt know much or many people. I was in a position that I couldnt do anything else. Also, restaurants had free board and lodging. (Sanjay, 38 yr old Bangladeshi male, 5 yrs in UK) In the job: Because after six years working there, I had learnt all the skills needed; by the time I left the place I was already a chef… Six years of working had enabled me to learn the skills to be a chef. (Jian, 32 yr old, Chinese male, 9 yrs in UK) Training and learning Co-workers Family Pay rates and agency Skill shortages

15 The Employer Perspective Alice Bloch University of Manchester Undocumented Migrants, Ethnic Enclaves and Networks: Opportunities, traps or class-based constructs. http://www.UndocNet.org

16 Key characteristics of Employer Sample 24 in-depth interviews - diverse routes of access 5 female, 19 male Areas covered: Migration histories Routes into business First business – types, recruitment, financing Additional/subsequent businesses Workplace relations Preferred characteristics of workers Employing undocumented migrants: past present Knowledge and impact of policies and sanctions

17 Figure 1: Current business by country of origin group Base number: 24 employers and 28 different business

18 Preferred worker characteristics Needs of business: skills (e.g. chefs) I cant have an Englishman as a creative chef (B2RM) Different roles in the business In the restaurant [you] cannot employ any other people…Its ok for waiter, waitress, not in the kitchen. They got to know how to cook the Chinese food C2S+RM). Language – colleagues and customer base …ninety-five percent of the customer from the Sylhet (B6SM)

19 Preferred worker characteristics Bangladeshi people are very hard working, physically hard working (B2TM). …theres only so many jobs that you can give to non- Chinese-speaking people… and experience has shown that they tend not to be as reliable. Im not being racist here Im just telling you my experience…they just dont turn up…so we dont actually employ a lot of non-Chinese, not because we dont want to but because in reality once you start employing them they dont achieve the same performance as a Chinese person and it certainly would create a bit of, erm, difficulty in communication in the workplace (C3RM).

20 Business: Families and trust …ethnic economy, at closer scrutiny, seems to be an economy of trust (Wahlbeck, 2007: 552). My husbands cousin [is] our manager; hes like part of our family (T9FR). Even when were doing the tile business, he was working for us he is like our brother, we are always together. We leave him everything to him at nights and go home and sleep (T6SM). Well my dad and myself are the directors, my sister is also in the office, my uncle also works in the office, erm, Hamed is my cousin, he works in the office, Yusef is like a member of the family, weve known him through family connections (B5SF).

21 Recruitment of workers: Social networks … the Bangladeshi community… go back, er, fifteen years/twenty years you had ninety-five percent of the resident came from that district of Sylhet…So they knew each other from school and college...So when a friend opened a restaurant, you know, it would be oh, Im opening a restaurant and the other friend would go and help…if somebody wanted a job they phoned...and somebody would come up and say hey, so and sos looking for a waiter, so and sos looking for a.... Or, the same token if you were looking for a staff for your restaurant youd ring somebody up: oh, do you of anybody free... (B1RM). So we mostly rely on, erm, personal references. You know, got a friend or some relatives (C3RM).

22 Employing undocumented migrants youve got to be careful these days (C2RM). C3RM..you dont want to take any chances. B1RM says, he doesnt employed undocumented migrants, because I cant afford to pay that fine.

23 Figure 2: Employment of undocumented migrants in the past and currently Base number: 24

24 Employing undocumented migrants Short term fill-in – mutually beneficial I have taken somebody on for a couple of weeks where...a kitchen porters left...oh Ive got a cousin of mine but he hasnt got any card or nothing. Well look, just send him down and while Im sort of searching for somebody at least he get two weeks work, a bit of pocket money….Ive had loads (B2TM). While visas are getting sorted Disagree with policy Empathy/often personal experience (Kurds from Turkey) Some people come, I mean they havent got papers but they are good people, they need money. They need it, if you dont give them job what are they going to do (T9RF)?

25 Contradictions...my wife wont allow me to employ them with no documents I dont mind sometimes because my location is changing all the time so Im taking a risk, of course. Between you and me we employ some without documents. I dare not to employ them because youve got to understand the five thousand pounds per person. And also you are involved with the court case and trials....some of the Chinese people from mainland, they are really rely on job to support the family, otherwise they wont come all the way from China, six thousand mile, and thats the problem. Because of the immigration law and theyre a bit scared but theyre still taking a risk, same me and same them, we both (C7SM).

26 Conclusion Importance of co-ethnic networks - informality is dominant mode of recruitment Preferred workers based on ethnicity, gender and trust like family Obligations of kinship and community solidarity Employers awareness of who they employ – in relation to status - and their reasons are clear No one analysis – practices influenced a number of factors including: kinship, community ethnic and political solidarity, immigration status, availability of workers, linguistic, cultural and gender preferences, perceptions of good workers, government policy and economic considerations.


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