High-skilled migrant workers, transnational networks, equality and voice : civil society organisations as new regulatory actors in work and employment

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

This thesis examines the role of migrant civil society organisations (CSOs) in the regulation of work and employment. The perspective of social regulation is adopted which conceptualises regulation as constituting the incorporation, allocation, control and reproduction of labour within labour markets through processes that transfer, utilise and convert social, cultural and economic capital of migrant workers. Migrant CSOs are conceptualised as resisting or reproducing social inequality. The major empirical contribution of this thesis is its empirical focus on CSOs in the UK representing skilled migrant workers originating from outside the European Economic Area, which has hitherto been under-researched. Data was collected from 38 key respondent and elite interviews drawn from a purposive sample of nine skilled migrant CSOs. The key conceptual contribution of this thesis is the development of a multi-disciplinary conceptual framework to investigate skilled migrant CSOs. It synthesizes the concepts of regulatory space, civil society, migrant capital, equality, diversity and ‘new’ actors in work and employment. The findings indicate that skilled migrant CSOs socially regulate migrants and labour market actors, processes and outcomes as diaspora organisations. CSOs use migrant capital through a range of formal and informal processes to support international mobility, recruitment, career mentoring, training and skills development.This study makes specific theoretical contributions by providing evidence of migrant collective action within and outside organisational workplaces in contrast to the International HRM literature which portrays skilled migrants as individualised and passive. The ways in which skilled migrant CSOs ‘occupy’ regulatory spaces by exploiting loopholes and occupying gaps expands our understanding of regulatory spaces. Skilled migrant CSOs articulate the voices of their constituencies in two broad ways: through political engagement such as public campaigns and lobbying; and through subtler apolitical forms of influence such as knowledge transfer, policy advice and diffusion of ‘best practices’ across transnational borders.
Date of Award1 May 2016
LanguageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorDennis Nickson (Supervisor) & (Supervisor)

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