Convoluted mobility: On the precarious movements of transnational migrant workers

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This article explores how the precarity of migrants working in the national labour markets of the Global North is shaped throughout the entire transnational migration process encompassing the planning, the journey as well as the arrival, re-arrival, and engagement across the sending and the receiving societies. Introducing the concept of convoluted mobility, the article analyses how the mediation of transnational labour migration is uneven and filled with frictions of de-tours, stuckness, and obstacles leaving the migrant workers in precarious positions across the sending and receiving societies. Through the empirical examples of Ukrainian migrants working within the agricultural industry in Denmark and brokers in Ukraine, we argue that the precarity of the migrants is established through convoluted mobility characterised by the interlink between the transnational migration infrastructure that moves the migrants and the migrants’ autonomy moving through the migration infrastructure.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2023


  • labour migration
  • mobility
  • precarity
  • temporary work agencies
  • transnational migration infrastructure


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