Working Life

Part of the Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Family and Intimate Life book series (PSFL)


This chapter looks at the relationships between employment and transnational marriage. Analysis of the LFS data shows that, whilst migrant husbands have high levels of employment, migrant wives in both groups have lower levels of employment than their British co-ethnic counterparts (although higher among Indian Sikh than Pakistani Muslim migrant wives). We find no evidence that migrant husbands restrict British South Asian women’s employment. The qualitative data showed long-standing differences in women’s employment in the families of our British Indian Sikh and British Pakistani Muslim respondents, as well as lower proportions of Pakistani migrant wives arriving with aspirations to work. Some of the migrant wives we interviewed said that the families into which they had married expected them to fulfil a domestic role, but we also found that structural issues and life course factors combine to create barriers to employment for both migrant and non-migrant wives. Whilst migrant husbands have high level of employments, they frequently have jobs in lower level occupations. The qualitative data suggests this is in part because ethnic network mainly provide access to low level occupations and in part because of structural challenges.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Sociology, Politics and International StudiesUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  2. 2.BristolUK
  3. 3.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Centre on Migration, Policy and SocietyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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