Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-8448b6f56d-cfpbc Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-22T04:20:14.207Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Seven - The consequences of being undocumented

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 September 2022

Sonia McKay
Affiliation:
University of the West of England
Get access

Summary

“Seriously, it is really very hard to be undocumented. Even when you run into [the] police on the street, you panic.” (Cem, male, Kurd from Turkey)

Cem had already been in the UK for 13 years when interviewed. He had been politically active in Turkey and continues his political activities in London, although this had caused him some difficulties when working in Turkish-owned restaurants where other staff members were hostile to Kurds. Due to a serious back problem, he was now able to work only part-time and this made life even more difficult, as he had a young family to support.

Being undocumented has consequences in every sphere of life. In this chapter we focus on the ways in which undocumented migrants experience the exclusions of their status and develop strategies for managing these status-based exclusions. The context is of course crucial; status matters more in places where documents are checked or required, which means, argues Khosravi (2010), that illegality is produced and is, as a consequence, situational. As internal controls, such as raids and sanctions on business and document checks for renting housing, are increasingly rolled out into civil society, so too do the sites increase in which the effects of being undocumented are experienced. However, it is not only policy than impacts on the ways in which being undocumented is lived and experienced. Personal biographies are also crucial in understanding variable experiences (Anderson and Ruhs, 2010a). The variation in experiences in terms of personal characteristics and biographies – which can include the reason for migration, persecution and/or fear of persecution in the countryof origin if returned, age at the time of migration, education, gender, social capital – all determine the variable experiences of undocumented migrants. Moreover, differences will determine visibility, claimsmaking and access to certain public provisions.

In Chapter Four we explored the impact of being an undocumented migrant on employment experiences, and demonstrated the centrality of status to these experiences, as well as the exclusion of most undocumented migrants from the more formal parts of the economy simply because these are sites where documents will be requested. We are not suggesting that undocumented migrants do not use constructed documents to access parts of the labour market that might otherwise be closed (see Vasta, 2011; Reeves, 2013).

Type
Chapter
Information
Living on the Margins
Undocumented Migrants in a Global City
, pp. 155 - 176
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2016

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×