Oiling the wheels? Flexible labour markets and the migration industry

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The growing commercialisation of migration, often through a multiplicity of labour market intermediaries, is an issue of increasing academic interest. We seek to contribute to an emerging research agenda on the migration industries by exploring how one of the key actors that constitutes it, recruitment agencies, sits at the nexus between flexible labour market structures and migrant labour. Interviews with UK labour providers and low-wage employers form the evidence base for an analysis of the strategies developed by recruiters to derive commercial gain from connecting the so-called ‘supply’ and ‘demand’ sides of the flexible international labour market. We seek to contribute to understandings of the analytical categories within migration systems by illustrating how the migration industry interacts with other key stakeholders to structure international migration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)558-574
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number4
Early online date14 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Migration industries
  • Migration systems
  • Flexible labour markets
  • Labour providers
  • East-Central European migration


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