Co-ethnic exploitation among Chinese migrants within an ethnic economy

Image credit: Felipe Aracena


Using the situation of Chinese migrants in Santiago, Chile, this article shows that labor relationships between Chinese employers and Chinese employees could be exploitative. We aim to discuss the conditions under which co-ethnic exploitation among Chinese migrants takes place in this developing country. In addition, we ask why Chinese employees allow themselves to be exploited by their Chinese employers, and how employers explain this exploitation. We argue that such exploitation starts at the migration route, with both employers and employees reaching a mutual agreement to circumvent the local regulations. Through social ties (guanxi), Chinese employers hire co-ethnic employees and generate the conditions to keep the labor force under their control. These conditions prevent any potential feedback effect or attempt to modify the migrant labor regime.

Asian and Pacific Migration Journal