Immigrant Work Strategies and Networks: London-Turkey-Ghana

2007 - 2009
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This project investigated the role of immigrant work strategies and their networks in the process of integration into the UK, and specifically in London. There is a perception in Britain today that asylum seekers and irregular migrants are driving the growth of a hitherto non-existent informal economy. Deregulated labour markets lead to flexible and casualized labour and this in turn can lead to high and low wage sectors, unregulated work and an informal sector. The public perception is that immigrants and other ethnic minorities are the direct cause of these effects.

By charting the work strategies (including formal and informal work) of several groups of recently arrived migrants, this research sought to explore how these strategies are shaped or mediated by their social networks. It focused on four immigrant groups – Ghanaians, Portuguese, Romanians and Turkish – and one sample of British-born people. It aimed to provide in-depth knowledge about immigrant work strategies and trajectories in a globalized and segmented labour market; to illustrate the importance of immigrant social networks, both transnational and local, in the process of settlement and immigrant accommodation into a culturally diverse society; and to highlight the importance of processes of immigrant participation and inclusion in a culturally diverse society.

Principal Investigator

Ellie Vasta


Leander Kandilige
Jemima Wilberforce


Economic and Social Research Council (COMPAS Core Funding)