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Four - Undocumented migrants living and working in London

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 September 2022

Sonia McKay
Affiliation:
University of the West of England
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Summary

“[It is] becoming harder for Chinese businesses to recruit workers … It has become harder and harder to find suitable people; there are fewer people competing for jobs. Many people have gone home. You see, many bosses had to sell their businesses, just because they couldn't recruit the right people to work. It's more difficult to recruit workers. There are fewer people willing to work in take-away shops … But it is also because of the [government] policy as a whole. You can't hire foreigners to work in take-aways and restaurants. They won't do such jobs. They won't want to do such jobs. You see, I think in the future it will become even harder to recruit workers for Chinese businesses … If you are really committed to finding work, you’d be able to find something. Of course, whether pay is good or not is another question.” (Jiang, male, from China)

Jiang was working in a take-away shop, doing deliveries in the late afternoons and evenings; at the time of his interview he had another part-time job working as a packer in a factory. He had arrived in the UK from China via Argentina, where he had spent time working for his uncle. Leaving Argentina because he found it unstable, he had decided to come to the UK using a passport and visa organised by the snakeheads. On arrival in the UK he had found work as a labourer in the building trade. He had worked nine hours a day, anything from five to seven days a week, depending on what was available and needed by his South Asian employers. Most of the other labourers were Chinese and the daily rate was £55 in cash. Work in construction was not stable for Jiang, which he attributed partly to the economic crisis, which had made homeowners reluctant or unable to spend money on their houses. In a search for a less precarious working life, Jiang had found a job, through friends, delivering food for a take-away shop. Quickly Jiang realised that the work was not secure because his labour was required inconsistently, sometimes daily and sometimes not for a week. Being proactive, he changed jobs and has been working in the same take-away doing deliveries for the last few years.

Type
Chapter
Information
Living on the Margins
Undocumented Migrants in a Global City
, pp. 75 - 104
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2016

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