This chapter, in conjunction with Chapter 2, provides the overall context for the book. First, this chapter locates undocumented migration within the broader theoretical paradigms that consider economic, structural and migration systems as drivers for international migration as well as the structural and state based factors that result in irregular migration. Secondly, we explore the literature on social capital in the form of networks. These networks can, on the one hand act as a trap while on the other hand as a mechanism for securing some, even if extremely minimal, resources for undocumented migrants and is central to our analysis. Thirdly the literature on the labour market experiences and strategies among undocumented migrants will be examined, alongside that of ethnic enclave employers, including their preferences for certain types of workers who are often from the same ethnic group and perceived to be hard working and compliant. Throughout we will address the main cleavages of gender, class, power and status that frame the analysis in the empirical chapters.
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