Precariousness in Unlikely Places: The Role of High-Skilled Migrant Worker Networks in Resisting and Reproducing Precarity




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ECPR Press/ Rowman & Littlefield International


Book chapter

Peer reviewed



Research on changes to work and employment in the European Union (EU) have highlighted the increase in precarious forms of work (ILO 2012; McKay et al. 2012) especially among migrant workers (Anderson 2010; Potter and Hamilton 2014). However, precariousness has traditionally been conceptualised as affecting migrants in low-skilled, low-status and low-wage jobs (Ahmad 2008; De Lima and Wright 2009) and undocumented migrants (Bloch 2013). This chapter argues that high-skilled migrant workers are increasingly experiencing precariousness resulting from changes to immigration policies in the United Kingdom (UK). The precarisation of high-skilled migrant workers is not merely an issue of changing legislation but occurs within the context of, and is driven by, neoliberal economic transformations. This raises the question: How do high-skilled migrants respond collectively to precariousness? Migrant networks are increasingly recognised as important sites for the collective agency of high-skilled migrants in their attempts to resist precarity; the complex dynamics of migrant collective agency are explored in this chapter as well as the shadow cast by the ‘dark side’ of migrant networks: the social reproduction of the very things migrant networks aim to resist – the control, potential for exploitation and segmentation of high-skilled migrants in work and employment. This chapter is organised into five sections. After this introduction, the next section sets the conceptual grounds for understanding high-skilled migrant workers, migrant networks and precariousness. The third section discusses the research methodology and the research findings are analysed in the fourth section. The final section concludes and identifies directions for future research.



Precarious Work, High-Skilled Migrant, Employment Relations, Migrant Social Networks, Civil Society Organisations, Immigration Policy, Flexicurity, Labour market flexibility, Social security


Ejiogu, C. (2018) Precariousness in Unlikely Places: The Role of High-Skilled Migrant Worker Networks in Resisting and Reproducing Precarity. In: Fedyuk, O. and Stewart, P. (Eds.) Inclusion and Exclusion in Europe: Migration, Work and Employment Perspectives. London: ECPR Press/ Rowman & Littlefield International, pp. 239-269.


Research Institute

People, Organisations and Work Institute (POWI)