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«Work, care and life among low-paid migrant workers in London: towards a migrant ethic of care November 2006 Kavita Datta, Cathy McIlwaine, Yara ...»

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Research notes that while men may be care providers, there is a distinct gendering of care work. It is also important to acknowledge that a significant number of children are also care-providers in both the Global North and South (Cockburn, 2005; Robson, 2004).

This further highlights the conceptual blurring between reproductive and productive work (Mitchell et al., 2004) Although it is important to acknowledge here that the public provision of care for children under the age of five is extremely limited in the UK and effectively puts migrant women in the same position as native women. That said, our research has illustrated that migrant uptake of benefits such as child tax credit, child benefit, working tax credit is very low partly due to lack of entitlement but also because of a strong work ethic among migrants. Eligibility for state benefits in Britain is determined by a complex set of factors the most important of which, in the current context at least, is whether a person is considered ‘ordinarily resident’ in Britain. The conditions of ‘ordinary residency’ are not set by statute and tend to be established on a case by case basis according to case law. Importantly, however, key groups are excluded from residency and thus claiming benefits: most notably, low-skilled workers entering Britain on a short-term work permit or through one of a range of sector based quota schemes. Workers moving to Britain from the A8 Accession Countries can only claim benefits once registered on the Workers Registration Scheme (and resident in Britain on a continual basis) for at least 12 months (see also Allamby, 2005).

The questionnaire survey was designed and directed by our team at Queen Mary, University of London. It was carried out by a team of 11 researchers who were recruited and managed by London Citizens. The research was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Greater London Authority (GLA), Oxfam, Queen Mary, University of London and UNISON. The researchers were also given training in organising techniques with London Citizens as part of their Summer Academy. This research has been used to support the living wage campaign in London (for more information, see Evans et al., 2005; Wills, 2004).

At the time of the research, the London living wage was calculated to be £6.70 with the take up of inwork benefits (see GLA, 2005).

An NVQ is a National Vocational Qualification that is usually done through part-time study while people work. They extend from Levels 1 to 5 with Level 3 equivalent to an A level.

This guide has been produced by the Publications and Web Office for the Department of Geography

For further information contact:

Department of Geography Queen Mary, University of London Mile End Road London E1 4NS Tel: 020 7882 5400 Fax: 020 8981 6276 email: geog@qmul.ac.uk

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