Bolivian domestic workers in Barcelona: negotiations of citizenship rights in the context of precarious labour markets, migration policies, and non-governmental associations
(J.W. Goethe University)
Paper short abstract:
The article analyses different every day strategies of illegal Bolivian female migrants in Barcelona to get access to citizenship rights. I argue that the NGOs play here an ambivalent role: They empower the migrants, but also help reproducing ethnic and gender segmented precarious labour markets.
Paper long abstract:
In the last years the number of 'illegally' immigrated Bolivian women in Barcelona has increased. Most of them work caring for elderly people, children or as housemaids. 'Illegal' female migrants mostly have only access to jobs in the domestic sector, which is characterized by precarious working conditions, linked to irregular status. In the last years the Spanish government organized several regularization processes, where irregular migrants could get temporal residence and working permits. There are also continuous informal regularization mechanisms, made possible by specific Spanish labour market policies linked to the demand of cheap labour force. In my paper I focus on the every day practices of migrants to be incorporated into the host society by subverting, but also adapting to political frameworks. I also highlight the role of NGOs and churches in Barcelona, who have informal employment agencies, provide basic and advanced trainings and offer legal consulting services concerning citizenship rights. These organizations and their practices, I argue, are ambivalent: On the one hand they empower irregular migrants to subvert legal power (giving them jobs although they haven't working permits/ showing them the legal niches to get residence permits), but on the other hand they reproduce precarious, ethnic and gender segmented informal labour markets (offering jobs only in the informal/domestic sector) and the neoliberal power relations they are based on.Download the full paper
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