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Dr. Katharine Jones

Senior Research Fellow

My Research Vision

My research is inspired by the need to promote the rights of people who migrate, whether for employment or because they have been forced to flee to seek a place of safety. With a background in researching asylum and refugee issues, for the past decade I have focused on tackling the intermediaries which organise the migration process. Specifically I research the rapidly growing networks of recruiters – also known as the migration industry - which profit from facilitating migration of women and men across national borders and placing them in employment. Geographically, I work in South and South East Asia, Europe, and Africa. It is critical to me that my research is applied rather than esoteric and I therefore work with a multitude of different institutional stakeholders, including international organisations, trade unions and INGOs.

Biography

Dr. Katharine Jones joined the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations in April 2015 and is a Senior Research Fellow in the Migration, Displacement and Belonging Research Group.

Educated at the Universities of Newcastle upon Tyne (1992-5; 1998-9) and Manchester (2007-2012), Katharine has more than 16 years experience of conducting migration-related research in a wide range of institutional settings (government, voluntary sector, international organisations, think tanks, funders). She was previously Director and founder of the Global Migrant Rights’ Research consultancy where she led major international research projects on migration intermediaries and human rights for the ILO Special Action Programme to Combat Forced Labour, the International Organisation for Migration, and Open Society Foundations amongst others). Prior to this she was Programme Manager (Forced Labour and Anti-Trafficking) at the Institute for Human Rights & Business, Senior Programme Manager (Migration, Young People and the Criminal Justice System) at the Barrow Cadbury Trust, and Senior Research Officer (Migration and Asylum) at the UK Home Office Immigration Research and Statistics Service. She is widely regarded as an expert on labour migration and migration intermediaries and is regularly asked to contribute to international events (with international organisations, think tanks, and international business) on this topic. 

Dr. Jones is a Director and Trustee of the Scottish Refugee Council and a trustee of Scottish Detainee Visitors and Bazooka Arts.

Selected Outputs

Selected Projects

  • MEDMIG. Coventry University is playing a leading role in a £1 million initiative to carry out urgent research into the ongoing migrant and refugee crisis which is gripping Europe. An international team led by Professor Heaven Crawley from the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (CTPSR) is travelling to the Mediterranean region to conduct the first large-scale comparative study of the backgrounds, experiences, aspirations and routes of migrants in four European countries – Italy, Greece, Malta and Turkey.The project is part of the ‘Mediterranean Migration Research Programme’ which has been established through the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) £1 million ‘Urgency Grant’ and is co-funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID). Findings from the study – which is one of eight being funded through the ESRC grant – will be used to inform the development of policy and responses by governments, European agencies, and charities.
  • Pantau PJTKI. Dr. Jones was commissioned to conduct an evaluation of a civil society initiative to develop a ‘consumer-based digital platform’ called PANTAU PJTKI (www.pantaupjtki.com) that allows migrant workers to rate private recruitment agencies in Indonesia. The hope is that this platform will increase transparency and accountability among recruiters and allow practices such as contract substitution, document confiscation, wage theft, fraud, and the charging of illegal fees to come to light with greater frequency. It is also hoped that an increase in the flow of information about recruiters will allow migrants to make better-informed decisions about their migration, and will incentivize good practices and give responsible recruiters an advantage over unscrupulous competitors. In addition to evaluating the initiative, Dr. Jones has drafted a paper on the international lessons which can drawn from this innovative approach.
  • For a Fee: The Business of recruiting women from South Asia for domestic work in Jordan and Lebanon. Dr. Jones was commissioned in her capacity as Director of her consultancy, Global Migrant Rights’ Research, prior joining the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations in April 2015, to coordinate a multi-country study (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Jordan, Lebanon) aimed at analysing the ‘business models’ utilised by the domestic work recruitment industry between South Asia and the Middle East. Ultimately, by shedding greater light on how and why migrant recruiters do what they do, the intent of this study was to inform better policies and interventions to protect migrant domestic workers, and eliminate abusive recruitment and employment practices.
  • Migrant social networks and private recruitment industries: A comparison of migrant journeys according to different regulatory contexts. In today’s globalized economy, a growing number of workers are looking for job opportunities beyond their country or community of origin. In recent decades, migration businesses, including private employment agencies, brokers, travel agents and others that profit from facilitating migration have multiplied. As yet, there is a surprising and significant lack of knowledge about how people in one country are recruited into jobs in another. Sometimes migrants are recruited by licensed recruitment agencies or by brokers that charge a fee; sometimes migrants find jobs through social networks of friends and families, and money may or may not change hands. There is a deficit of empirical data on how and why the licensed recruitment industry becomes the primary means of facilitating migration in some geographic regions while in others it is friends and families who help migrants to find jobs. There is also a lack of understanding of what different rights’ violations may result from the different models. This research compares how migrants from Paraguay find jobs in Brazil (where migrants can freely move back and forth) with how migrants from Kenya find jobs in the Middle East (where strict immigration controls are in place).
  • Migrant Recruitment Monitoring and Welfare Assistance: What Works? This study examines existing recruitment monitoring mechanisms and compiles good practices of the Colombo Process (countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam) and key destination States.
  • Lessons from SNAP: A Guide to Preparing a National Action Plan on Human Rights. Launched on Human Rights Day in December 2013, SNAP – Scotland’s first National Action Plan on Human Rights – sets out a route by which everyone in Scotland can live with human dignity, and where internationally agreed human rights are realised in people’s daily lives. This Guide captures the learning from Scotland’s process of developing SNAP with the aim of assisting others – National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), national governments, non-governmental organisations, human rights defenders and others – interested in or embarking on human rights planning. Guide to be launched with the support of the Council of Europe, Commissioner of Human Rights in 2016.
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Senior Research Fellow

Building: IV5, Technology Park