Serial Labor Migration: Precarity and Itinerancy among Filipino and Indonesian Domestic Workers

Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, Rachel Silvey, Maria Cecilia Hwang, Carolyn Areum Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


This article examines the mobility patterns of migrant domestic workers in the United Arab Emirates. It identifies and explains the emergence of serial labor migration, which we define as the multi-country, itinerant labor migration patterns of temporary low-skilled migrant workers. It argues that policy contexts shaping temporary labor migration, as they impose precarious and prohibitive conditions of settlement in both countries of origin and destination, produce the itinerancy of low-skilled migrant workers. We offer a holistic analysis of the migration process of temporary labor migrants, shifting away from a singular focus on the process of emigration, integration, or return and toward an examination of each stage as a co-constitutive step in the migration cycle. Our analytic approach enables us to illustrate the state of precarity and itinerancy that follows low-wage migrant workers across the various stages of the migration cycle and produces serial migration patterns among migrant domestic workers from the Philippines and Indonesia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1230-1258
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Migration Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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