Immigration controls serve a crucial symbolic function of delineating the nation and the people, the boundaries of ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ and state legitimacy is, through immigration policy, linked to ideas of nation building and preservation (Honig, 2003). Labor migration policy is not simply an instrumental response to the needs of employers but highly symbolic and politically contested terrain that assumes intense public significance. This is particularly evident in the case of domestic workers, who are embedded in the family, the ‘heart of the nation’. This paper explores the ways in which migration policies on domestic work not only produce a subordinated workforce, but reflect and construct ideas about family, work, and Britishness, with a particular focus on two visa types: domestic worker accompanying an employer and au pair visas.
- SPAIS Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship