Enforced migration workers

Remote working in the context of enforced migration triggered by the war in Ukraine.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine forced Ukrainian workers to migrate from the Eastern regions under attack to the Central-Western areas of the country or even most frequently abroad (Germany, Czech Republic and other bordering European countries becoming hosting hubs for them). Some Ukrainian workers (mainly in knowledge intensive jobs) manage to maintain employment relationships with their Ukrainian employers e.g., by using digital platforms. However, most refugees and internally displaced people are falling in precarious living and working situations that remains unexplored. Digital technologies are playing a crucial role in enforcing migrants’ transnational social connections and access to basic services. However, their role in accessing paid work remains underexplored in research. Moreover, while remote working is promoted as a resilience strategy for enforced migrants, its ambiguous consequences have not been studied yet. 

To address these gaps, REMAKING will investigate the role and function of remote working in forced migrants’ resilience building strategies and remote refugees’ work in different spatial settings (collaborative workspaces, third spaces, homes, and other self-organized working spaces in second tier cities and rural areas) to better understand the interplay between remote refugee workers and local communities. The first analysis concerns Ukrainian temporary protected persons living and working in Berlin and Brandenburg rural areas, Prague and Středočeský kraj, particularly relevant places where people improvised remote working activities (e.g., in stores, cafes). Such locations provide better possibilities for an analysis of this scale and scope because of the ideal combination of municipal, peri-urban, and rural areas, which are close in distance. Besides, remote workers at these specific locations improvised remote working activities in special centres named “Points of Invincibility”, having autonomous access to the Internet and electric power. A second analysis will focus on internally displaced Ukrainian workers in their own country, specifically those originally coming from Kyiv and the areas of Kharkiv and Kramatorsk – with major exposure to the Russian invasion – who fled to Lviv for safety. The fieldwork itself will take place in the second-tier city and surrounding rural territories of Lviv (switching to move to Uzhgorod and Zakarpatska oblast, should issues arise), hosting many Ukrainian remote workers.