Working on the Edge of Society: Migrants in Illegal, Precarious or Exploitative Work

Monday 2 November 2015, 09:45-16:45
Moot Court, School of Law, Bartolome House, Winter Street, Sheffield, S3 7ND

Supported by the University of Sheffield Department of Politics and the Sheffield University Migration Research Network

While many migrants move to work, in low or high skilled jobs, in the formal labour market, there are nonetheless many migrants whose experience of work is not in this mainstream. Migrants who find themselves working illegally, and therefore outside of employment law, in precarious, temporary and exploitative relations. Some migrants are involved in situations of forced labour, while others are involved in coercive working environments and policies of enforced destitution for failed asylum seekers push them into the shadow economy. It is illegal for the vast majority of asylum seekers to work but those held in detention centres are employed by international companies to complete routine tasks for £1 per hour, their exemption from minimum wage laws sanctioned by the government. How can we understand these practices and the interplay between politics, law and society within the context of their proliferation?

The symposium, organised by the BSA Diaspora, Migration and Transnationalism Study Group, will include academics, policy makers and campaigners interested in migrant work in the informal economy, those who work on forced labour, as well as those who look at the precarious situation of asylum seekers and failed asylum seekers in relation to work. It is the existence on the margins of society, working but not employed in the formal labour market, in the shadow of the law but not necessarily under its protection, that is the focus of the symposium.

Key speaker:
Professor Bridget Anderson, University of Oxford

Panel speakers:
Don Flynn (Migrants Rights Network)
Paul Blomfield MP (Chair of All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration)
Louise Waite & Hannah Lewis (University of Leeds)
Nando Sigona (University of Birmingham)
Nicola Phillips (University of Sheffield)
Alice Bloch (University of Manchester)
Genevieve Le Baron (University of Sheffield)
Alex Balch (Liverpool University)

Location and Travel

The event will be held at Moot Court in the School of Law building:

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Prices: £5 for Sheffield University staff and BSA members, £10 for all others
Please register online.


Please direct any administrative enquiries to the BSA Events Team:

Please direct any academic enquiries to Lucy Mayblin: