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A Window of Opportunity? Refugee Staff's Employment in Migrant Support and Advocacy Organizations

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Publication details

JournalIdentities-Global studies in culture and power
DateAccepted/In press - 4 Oct 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 23 Oct 2018
DatePublished (current) - 2019
Issue number3
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)321-338
Early online date23/10/18
Original languageEnglish


This article presents an analysis of employment trajectories of refugee staff in migrant support and advocacy organisations in the UK, Austria and the Netherlands. In contrast to existing scholarship, it takes refugees’ success in finding employment as a starting point. Moreover, it makes an important contribution to extant literature by identifying the unique features of a niche employment sector for refugees: migrant support organisations. I demonstrate that the mainstream explanatory concepts of ‘labour market segmentation’ and ‘ethnic niche’ fail to capture refugees’ pathway from client to service provider and neglect the sector’s status as a mid- to high-skilled but feminised employment sector. I propose instead to understand ‘refugeeness’ as a form of capital and argue that this capital provides access to employment in migrant support and advocacy organisations, while simultaneously trapping refugees in front-line work with high degrees of hidden, devalued labour and inadequate career mobility.

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© 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.

    Research areas

  • employment, ethnic niche, labour market, NGOs, Refugees, third sector

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