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‘A member of the family?’ An online workshop with Anna Boucher on the exploitation of migrant domestic labour

Tuesday 2 June at 10:00 am to 11:30 am

Both structural and demographic characteristics can influence the exploitation of workers. Gender is one such characteristic. In this virtual workshop, Anna Boucher will present a paper analysing the role of gender in migrant worker employment violations and why female migrants may experience worse conditions than male migrants. Her presentation will be followed by comments from Tonia Novitz, Professor of Labour Law at the University of Bristol, before the discussion is opened up to the audience.

Anna’s paper outlines a key court case – Nambalat v Taher & Anor: Udin v Pasha & Ors [2012] EWCA Civ 1249 – in which a number of female migrant domestic workers in the UK unsuccessfully challenged wage underpayment on the basis that they were incorrectly viewed as ‘members of the family.’ Nambalat raises questions about how work in the private sphere is valued and about the gendered slippage between paid care work and motherly duties that live-in domestic workers face.

Research shows that female migrants are clustered in sectors that are less amenable to unionization and transparency, such as domestic care work or sex work. Female migrants also suffer far higher rates of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual servitude and trafficking than their male counterparts. Anna will address the overarching gender disaggregated trends from court cases across Australia, Canada, England and the State of California.


Places are limited for the workshop so please register on the Eventbrite page. A weblink for joining will be sent out to registrees at the end of May, along with instructions on how to submit a question for the discussion (before and during the event).


Anna Boucher is Associate Professor in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney and a SOAR Fellow. The work presented in this seminar is from her current book project ‘Patterns of Exploitation: Understanding migrant workplace rights abuses’. In this book, she compiles a Migrant Worker Rights Database and analyses its 1,000 court cases to present quantitative statistics on the employment-based violations of migrants in Australia, Canada, England and the State of California from 1996 through to 2016. This research is coupled with in-depth analysis of seven key court cases in these four jurisdictions along with interviews with leading solicitors and barristers, policy makers and activists, who worked on those cases.


Tuesday 2 June
10:00 am to 11:30 am