Irregular Migration

Irregular Migration

The Dilemmas of Transnational Mobility

Bill Jordan and Franck Düvell

Irregular Migration is an extremely timely and topical book, analysing the fundamental tensions at the core of present attempts to manage the movement of population in today’s world. Recent events around the globe have prompted a reappraisal of the emerging consensus on migration control.

Chapter 9: Recruitment of Labour from Abroad

Bill Jordan and Franck Düvell

Subjects: development studies, migration, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, migration, urban and regional studies, migration


In this chapter we return to some of the earlier themes of the book – how labour mobility relates to capital mobility and trade, how globalisation is facilitated by managed migration regimes and how recruitment from abroad is used by national governments to address issues of mobility in their labour markets. Once again, we use the UK as a case study, and focus on how the agency most directly involved in the recruitment of overseas labour, Work Permits (UK) (formerly the Overseas Labour Service of the Department for Education and Employment) has adapted its practices to recent changes in policy. We also use interviews with recruits who have come to the UK (conducted in 2001), to illustrate how the perspectives of those who came to the UK under the work permit scheme compared with those of the irregular migrants’ accounts analysed in the previous chapters. The relevance of this comparative material is that it allows us to analyse the mobility of those who enter legally as foreign recruits to the UK labour market with the transnational movement of irregular migrants. As we show in this chapter, work permit holders are able to treat border crossing for the sake of work as economic mobility rather than migration (see Chapter 1), as long as they can find suitable channels between their country and the one to which they are being recruited. Business visa holders from Poland, by contrast, used this as a way of establishing a regular status after a period as irregular...

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