Paper abstracts

 

 Abstract paper 1Hidden dishes – how food gets on our plates: undocumented migrants and the restaurant sector. Theme: Migrant workers in the labour process. Read more here

 Abstarct paper 2:  The juncture of status and labour law. Read more here

Abstract paper 3: The effect of de-professionaliisation within the legal profession on undocumented migrants. Read more here

Abstract paper 4: Employment, Social Networks and Undocumented Migrants: The Employer Perspective. Read more here

Abstract paper 5: Rights of migrant workers: exploring illegal/irregular undocumented migratino in the UK . Read more here

Abstract paper 6: The manifestation of norms in unregulated labour markets. Read more here


Abstract paper 7: In the shadows – undocumented migrants, status and employment, Read more here


Abstract paper 8:  Transnational aspects of undeclared work and the role of EU legislation. Read more here

(Based on data from ESRC research (Grant Ref: RES-062-23-3281), Undocumented Migrants, Ethnic Enclaves and Networks: Opportunities, traps or class-based constructs)

 

Abstract:  Hidden dishes – how food gets on our plates: undocumented migrants and the restaurant sector 

This paper explores how the labour process operates in the restaurant sector, a sector dominated by small employers and reliant on low-paid workers (Pantelidis and Wrobel, 2008). The focus is on ethnic enclave businesses, primarily Chinese, Turkish and Bangladeshi-owned business operating in London, although the issues raised are generalizable to most advanced economies, where similar working patterns indicate the presence of specific production processes reliant on undocumented labour. From the perspective of migrants the small businesses operating in the sector can be identified as offering a strategy of survival to those without documents but as also a trap for those in the most vulnerable positions. From the perspective of small businesses the paper investigates factors which shape employment preferences and hiring strategies (Jones et al., 2006) and which determine the terms and conditions under which undocumented migrants are employed. Contradictory forces are at play, as undocumented labour is sought because it is considered as flexible and disposable but also because it meets particular skills’ shortages which immigration restrictions create.

The paper shows that the informal economy (Wilson and Portes, 1980; Albrecht et al., 2006; Blair, 2000 and Portes and Borocz, 1989) which operates within the restaurant sector has an unspoken reliance on undocumented migrants but nevertheless operates under a set of rules governing terms and conditions which are known and understood both by worker and employer. The paper asserts that the current crisis of capital has been accompanied by a growth in inequality but at the same time the informal economy is structural, operating within a co-reliant formal economy (Breman, 1976). This means that it reproduces hierarchies derived from both status and skills and from their inter-relationship (Uys and Blaauw, 2006). It also demonstrates that these provide routes to better quality jobs for some workers, regardless of status, while for others it ensnares them within a narrow range of jobs which restrict them both emotionally and physically.

The paper argues that the combined effect of the economic crisis and tighter immigration controls has been to further stimulate undocumented labour, but generally in increasingly precarious conditions where it becomes entrenched as labour that is marginalised and exceptionally vulnerable.

Methodology

The paper draws on an on-going two-year ESRC funded study - Undocumented Migrants, Ethnic Enclaves and Networks: Opportunities, traps or class-based constructs (UNDOCNET). Sixty interviews with undocumented workers, mainly in the restaurant sector, along with more than 20 interviews with employers in ethnic enclave employment, are utilised to explore the nature of undocumented work in the sector, the rules that govern it, employment strategies with and counter influences, shaped by state polices including employer sanctions and generating an even more marginalised labour component. 455 words without references 

References

Albrecht, J. Navarro, L. Vroman, S. (2006) ‘The effects of labour market policies in an economy with an informal sector’, IZA Discussion Paper No. 2141.

Blair, H. (2001) ‘You’re only as good as your last job: the labour process and labour market in the British film industry’, Work, Employment and Society, 2001, 15:1:149-169.

Breman, J. (1976) ‘A dualistic labour system? A critique of the ‘informal sector’ concept’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 11, No. 48: 1870-1876.

Jones, T. Ram, M. Edwards, P. (2006) Ethnic minority business and the employment of illegal immigrants’, Entrepreneurship & Regional Development: An International Journal, 18(2):133-150.

Pantelidis, I. and Wrobel, S. (2008) ‘London’s hospitality workforce, cultural diversity a choice or necessity?’ London Journal of Tourism, Sport and Creative Industries Vol 1(1):13-21.

Uys, MD, Unisa and Blasauw (2006) The dual market theory and the informal sector in South Africa, University of Johannesburg.

Wilson, K.L. and Portes, A. (1980) ‘Immigrant enclaves: an analysis of the labour market experiences of Cubans in Miami’, American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 86(2):295-315.

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Abstract : The juncture of status and labour law                           

This paper considers the impact of undocumented status on the employment relationship. It asserts that the exclusion of those whose contracts are tainted by illegality through the operation of immigration law is particularly problematic in a period where tightened immigration controls restrict lawful entry, particularly for those in low-skilled jobs. The paper questions why it is that immigration law imposes its principles over those of labour law so that employment rights - otherwise regarded as fundamental - are denied to those who enter the labour market without the necessary documents. At the same time the paper argues that despite their informal status working arrangements are governed by precise and clearly understood norms, which regulate pay and working conditions but which are not based on recognised labour law standards.

The paper moves on to explore the obstacles encountered by migrants endeavouring to regularise their situation to bring themselves within the ambit of labour law rights and  shows that rather than lifting them out of their predicament the rules cement their undocumented status as labour which is vulnerable and unable to defend its rights.

Consequently the paper concludes that an alternative model is required which would guarantee the separation of immigration and labour law so as to validate labour law as a fundamental guarantor of rights in the workplace. 

Methodology

The paper draws on the author’s on-going two-year ESRC funded study - Undocumented Migrants, Ethnic Enclaves and Networks: Opportunities, traps or class-based constructs (UNDOCNET). More than 50 with undocumented workers, mainly in the restaurant sector, along with 24 interviews with employers in ethnic enclave employment, are utilised to explore the nature of undocumented work in the sector, the rules that govern it, employment strategies and counter influences, shaped by state polices including employer sanctions and generating an even more marginalised labour component.

References

Jones, T. Ram, M. Edwards, P. (2006) Ethnic minority business and the employment of illegal immigrants’, Entrepreneurship & Regional Development: An International Journal, 18(2):133-150.

Leighton, P. and Wynn, M. (2011) ‘Classifying employment relationships – more sliding doors or a better regulatory framework’, Industrial Law Journal 40(1):5-44.

Pantelidis, I. and Wrobel, S. (2008) ‘London’s hospitality workforce, cultural diversity a choice or necessity?’London Journal of Tourism, Sport and Creative Industries Vol 1(1):13-21.

Wilson, K.L. and Portes, A. (1980) ‘Immigrant enclaves: an analysis of the labour market experiences of Cubans in Miami’, American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 86(2):295-315.

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Abstract : The effect of de-professionaliisation within the legal profession on undocumented migrants

Webber (2012) has pointed to the critical role of committed lawyers in defending the rights of undocumented migrants and while this role should be acknowledged there are countervailing influences that result in a failing of the legal profession to give voice and agency to the undocumented.  In part this may be linked to the growth of a para legal workforce such as that highlighted by Wernick (1990)  in relation to the USA, which pointed specifically to the lack of adequate training on immigration law and its consequent negative impact on undocumented migrants. More recently Brooks (2012) describes the growth of a freelance sector which is increasingly de-skilled. This paper provides further insights into the legal advice available to undocumented migrants in London, demonstrating that the consequences of a system which delivers deficient or incompetent representation has been to condemn migrants to exist outside of the legal and social protections which otherwise the state would guarantee.

The paper is based on data drawn from interviews with undocumented migrants from Bangladesh, China and Turkey.  While some are relatively recent arrivals, others had been working in the UK for a decade or more without having had their position regularised. In part they laid the blame on the legal services which they had accessed. Ali a 37 year old worker from Turkey is just one example taken from those interviewed. His aim on arrival had been to apply for a right to remain under the Ankara provisions, but two attempts had been unsuccessful, each of which he attributed to the use of someone whom he later found was not legally qualified. Accessing legal expertise though networks of co-nationals had exposed him and many others to a system where relatively high fees were taken for the production of documentation which was found to be wanting.

To understand why and how this occurs, the paper focuses on the networks which individuals utilise to access legal services particularly in circumstances where their lack of English language funnels them into a relatively small niche within the legal profession.

References

Brooks, R.A. (2012) Cheaper by the hour – temporary lawyers and the deprofessionalisaton of the law, Temple University Press.

Webber, F. (2012) Borderline Justice – the fights for refugee and migrant rights, Pluto Press.

Wernick, A.H. (1990) ‘The education and utilization of paralegals in the practice of immigration law’, 7 Journal of Paralegal Education and Practice pp. 23-34.
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Abstract: Employment, Social Networks and Undocumented Migrants: The Employer Perspective

This paper explores the employment of undocumented migrants from the perspective of their employers. Drawing on a larger study of 60 undocumented migrants and 24 employers from the Chinese, Bangladeshi and Turkish speaking communities in London, the experiences and decision making of the ethnic enclave employers who are running businesses with employ mainly co-ethnic workers will be considered.  The paper will examine the role of social networks as a mechanism for recruitment, the ways in which employers may or may not differentiate between workers, based on their immigration status and the ways in which trust, power, class and gender intersect with employment relations.

Using data from the 24 qualitative interviews with ethnic enclave employers and an asynchronous internet focus group the paper critically assesses the theoretical literature that constructs the internal employment relationships within ethnic enclave employment as reciprocal, where the entrepreneur accesses compliant labour that is easy to exploit and the worker accesses employment, which is not open to her/him beyond the enclave environment due to issues of trust, a lack of wider networks, fear of being caught and deported and in some cases limited English language that affects employment alternatives.

It will also explore whether employer decision making has changed due to the increasingly punitive policy context that include fines, ad hoc raids on businesses thought to be employing undocumented migrants, such as the on-going raids on Chinese and Bangladeshi restaurants and fast food businesses since 2008 and deportation.

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Abstract: Rights of migrant workers: exploring illegal illegal/irregular/undocumentedmigration in the UK

This paper draws on recent in-depth interviews with undocumented workers of Bangladeshi, Chinese and Turkish origin and their employers in the UK. Such empirical data is rare precisely because of the illegality and hence relative invisibility of these workers. The research seeks to investigate the labour market experiences and aspirations of undocumented migrants, and worker/employer relationships, in relation to class, ethnicity, gender and power. Also of interest are the processes through which migrants become undocumented (the “production of illegality”), conditions at work, and the role of social and community networks in their working lives. By documenting personal experiences and seeking to understand the labour market position of these workers, one is led naturally to examine possibilities for organisation and resistance.

Any analysis of labour must take this section of the labour force into account. By 2004 International Organisation for Migration/International Labour Organisation estimates, between 10 and 15 per cent of the world’s migrants were living in an irregular situation, equivalent to between 20 million and 30 million people.1 In this context, there is a need for theorising the concept of illegality and its production through political, policy and social changes. Such analysis is particularly important during the continuing global economic downturn, with the accompanying increase in anti-immigrant rhetoric, criminalisation of migrant labour, and the very real hardening of borders. Examples of these phenomena can be seen in the increasingly restrictive immigration policies aimed at non-EEA nationals in the UK, recent anti-immigrant laws in the US state of Arizona, the targeting of Bengali Muslims in Assam, and the victimisation of the Rohingyas in Burma.

Various organisational responses have both potential and limitations. In the UK, irregular migrants are found in food, restaurant and catering, care and domestic work, construction, and other informal sectors of the labour market. The isolation and vulnerability created by the threat of detection and deportation forces greater reliance on community networks; however the position of undocumented workers within intra-community power

structures problematises community-based organising. Trade union responses across Europe have been mixed; and movements such as "sans papiers", "no one is illegal", “Strangers into Citizens” campaign for regularisation. The challenge must be to integrate movements led by irregular migrants themselves into mainstream labour movements.

1 International Organisation for Migration/ILO (2004) Towards a fair deal for workers in the global economy, Report 4, International conference, 92nd Session ILO, Geneva
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Abstract: The manifestation of norms in unregulated labour markets


There are at least two million undocumented migrants in Europe (CLANDESTINO 2009) with some estimates suggesting the number could be considerably higher. But whatever the actual figure, it is clear that large numbers of workers in Europe are working without documents, whether in berry picking in Sweden, in the tomato harvests of Southern Europe, as false self-employed construction workers in the UK and in Germany of in domestic labour private households throughout most of the ‘old’ EU15 countries. Working without documents excludes workers from the labour and social rights that they would otherwise enjoy and indeed it is in only a minority of EU countries – Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland – that undocumented workers can enforce even their most basic right to withheld wages (LeVoy and Verbruggen, 2005). However, their exclusion from formal rights mediated by the state does not mean that their labour is unregulated. As this paper demonstrates, even in conditions of complete irregularity, unwritten rules are established which the social actors abide by.
 
The paper argues that despite the informality of work, where individuals are often in areas of the workplace where their presence is hidden from casual observers and state authorities, working arrangements are governed by precise and clearly understood norms, which regulate pay and working conditions. Thus within what is often expressed as a dual labour market (Poire, 1975 and 1979) the parties are not completely free from regulation, as forms of internally regulated norms determine the rate for the job and the conditions of work.
The outcome is that businesses generally acknowledge that specific terms should be applied to specific types of work, observing hierarchies and opportunities for progression even for those without documents and therefore seemingly without the legal power to insist on the operation of legislative norms. Undocumented migrants who find themselves in positions which are deemed as exploitative – that is where these internally regulated norms are not obeyed – may still have a residual power to leave or to organise. In our study, exit was expressed as a source of power in a labour market which experienced labour shortages, due to a combination of the impact of state policies preventing legal migration and factors which made the jobs available unattractive to local labour.
 The paper draws its data primarily from an on-going two-year ESRC funded study which has interviewed 60 undocumented migrant workers and 24 employers of migrant heritage

References
Clandestino (2009) Undocumented migration: counting the uncountable, data and trends across Europe, Final report
 LeVoy, M. and Verbruggen, N. (2005) 10 ways to protect undocumented migrants, Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM).
Piore, Michael, J. (1979) Birds of paradise – migrant labour and industrial societies, Cambridge University Press, 229 pages, paper.
Piore, M.J. (1975), Notes for a Theory of Labor Market Stratification, in Edwards, R.C.,

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Abstract: In the shadows – undocumented migrants, status and employment


This paper considers the impact of undocumented status on the employment relationship. It asserts that the exclusion of those whose contracts are tainted by illegality through the operation of immigration law is particularly problematic in a period where tightened immigration controls restrict lawful entry, particularly for those in low-skilled jobs. The paper questions why it is that immigration law imposes its authority over labour law and why it is that employment rights – including those otherwise regarded as fundamental - are denied to those who enter or remain in the labour market without the necessary permission. The paper furthermore asserts that, despite their informal status, the working arrangements of undocumented migrants are governed by precise and clearly understood norms, which regulate their pay and working conditions but which do not necessarily draw on recognised labour law standards.

The paper begins by looking at the historical development of key legal rules that in their application bolster discriminatory practices, despite a legislative framework which is predicated on non-discrimination principles. It moves on consider landmark case law decisions on migrants as workers including where the consequences have been to deny access to employment rights. It then illustrates the impact of the law by drawing on interview data with undocumented migrants. It concludes with a consideration of policy and legislative changes that would guarantee that all workers have a minimum standard of employment protection and one that is in keeping with international standards. This requires an alternative model which would guarantee the separation of immigration and labour law so as to validate labour law as a fundamental guarantor of rights in the workplace. 
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Abstract: Transnational aspects of undeclared work and the role of EU legislation


The presentation will focus on migration as a transnational phenomenon in relation to undeclared work. This would mean looking at how, in a context of tightening migration controls throughout the EU, the migration imperative directs those who migrate into undeclared work. It will examine the statistical data that exists in relation to estimates of undocumented migrants and explore the range of sectors in which they are believed to work, assessing the extent to which undeclared work is prevalent within those sectors. Thus one question that the presentation addresses is the extent to which undeclared work is a response to undocumented migration or whether undocumented migrants gravitate towards existing loci of undeclared work.

The contribution would look at the role of immigration and employment legislation and the extent to which it inhibits or promotes undeclared work within migrant populations. Furthermore it would explore the extent to which undeclared work, and the working conditions that it nurtures, influences working conditions among those in declared work. An aspect of the presentation will therefore be to look at the working conditions in sectors of known presence of undocumented migrants.

The presentation will draw from current literature in relation to precarious work, exploring this as a concept for the analysis of undeclared work.

In relation specifically to EU legislation, the presentation will explore the rationale and the context for Directives 2009/52/EC of 18 June 2008/115/EC of 16 December 2008(the sanctions and returns directives). 

The presentation will draw data primarily from three research projects conducted by the presenter[1] and will utilise available statistical data and published reports including the Eurobarometer study[2] in relation to the data on migrants, the Clandestino project report[3], reports from national experts published on the website of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and working conditions[4] and the 2010 ILO report on labour inspection in Europe[5]. It will reference the work of Reyneri[6], Anderson[7] and Ruhs[8] among others.


[1] Undocumented workers transitions: http://cordis.europa.eu/search/index.cfm?fuseaction=result.document&RS_LANG=ES&RS_RCN=12662453&q=; Study on precarious work and social rights: ec.europa.eu/social/BlobServlet?docId=7925&langId=en; Undocumented Migrants, Ethnic Enclaves and Networks:Opportunities, traps or class-based constructs: http://www.undocnet.org/

[2] http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_284_en.pdf

[3] http://cordis.europa.eu/search/index.cfm?fuseaction=result.document&RS_LANG=DE&RS_RCN=12662476&q=

[4] http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/

[5] http://www.ilo.org/labadmin/info/pubs/WCMS_120319/lang--en/index.htm

[6] ftp://ftp.cordis.europa.eu/pub/improving/docs/conf_work_reyneri.pdf

[7] Anderson, B. (2013) Us and Them? The dangerous politics of immigration control. Oxford: OUP

[8] Anderson, B. and Ruhs, M. (eds) (2010) 'Researching Illegality in Labour Migration: Concepts, Ethics and Policy Nexus', Population, Space and Place Special Issue, 16(3)

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