Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Caught in the work–citizenship matrix: The lasting effects of precarious legal status on work for Toronto immigrants.

Document type Article
Author Goldring, Luin
Author Landolt, Patricia
Journal Globalizations
Volume 8
Date 2011 06
ISSN 1474-7731, 1474-774X
Pages 325-341


This article explores the relationship between precarious employment and precarious migrant legal status. Original research on immigrant workers' employment experiences in Toronto examines the effects of several measures including human capital, network, labor market variables, and a change in legal status variable on job precarity as measured by an eight-indicator Index of Precarious Work (IPW). Precarious legal status has a long-lasting, negative effect on job precarity; both respondents who entered and remained in a precarious migratory status and those who shifted to secure status were more likely to remain in precarious work compared to respondents who entered with and remained in a secure status. This leaves no doubt that migrant-worker insecurity and vulnerability stem not only from having ‘irregular’ status. We introduce the notion of a work–citizenship matrix to capture the ways in which the precariousness of legal status and work intersect in the new economy. People and entire groups transition through intersecting work–citizenship insecurities, where prior locations have the potential to exert long-term effects, transitions continue to occur indefinitely over the life-course, and gains on one front are not always matched on others.