Employment, Social Networks and Undocumented Migrants: The Employer Perspective

Alice Bloch, Sonia McKay (Collaborator)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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This article draws on data from qualitative interviews with ethnic enclave and ethnic economy business entrepreneurs from Chinese, Bangladeshi and Turkish-speaking communities in London. Routes into business and worker recruitment practices are explored, demonstrating the centrality of social capital in the form of family and other social networks within these processes. The article investigates what employers consider the desirable characteristics of workers: trust, kinship, gender, social networks, language compatibility and the needs of the business intersect with racialised notions of workers’ strengths and characteristics. Finally, we consider changing practices in relation to the employment of undocumented migrants, in the context of an increasingly punitive legislative regime. The complex and variable impact of policy alongside the ways in which other obligations and positions outweigh the fear and risks of sanctions associated with non-compliance is revealed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-55
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2015


  • employment
  • ethnic enclave businesses
  • migrant entrepreneurs
  • recruitment
  • social networks
  • undocumented migrants


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