This project aims to examine undocumented labour migrants’ legal culture and socio-legal integration in a politically hybrid regime. The project uses the case of Russia, a hybrid political regime and the world’s second largest recipient of labour migrants, to investigate how undocumented migrants negotiate and manoeuvre around the restrictive socio-legal environment through producing new ways of informal governance and legal order. The project has the following three objectives: (1) to develop a theoretically robust understanding of undocumented migrants’ socio-legal integration in politically hybrid regimes’; (2) to produce new ethnographic material about the relationship between undocumented migrants, employers, law-enforcement structures and protection rackets (i.e. ‘parallel legal orders’) in the Russian migrant labour market and (3) to enhance the knowledge about the effects of these processes on societal transformation, role and rule of law and governance trajectories in Russia. These issues will be explored through the socio-legal study of everyday life and experiences of Central Asian migrants in Moscow. This multidisciplinary project employs a mixed-methods approach and draws on the concepts and theories developed within migration studies, law and society, economic crime, security and public administration studies.
This project advances our understanding of how labour migrants build relationship with law and law-like structures in politically-hybrid regimes. It explores the case of Russia that represents the ever-growing category of hybrid political regimes that are neither democratic nor authoritarian. Analysing migrants’ socio-legal integration in such regimes is a bold initiative as it bridges the knowledge gap on this topic, current studies being mostly limited to analysis of Western-type democracies.