Werken in de marge
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A large number of former unaccompanied minors in the Netherlands leave for unknown destinations during the asylum procedure or after being rejected. In this contribution the authors provide answers to the question how undocumented (former) unaccompanied minors provide for their iving and housing. The study is based on interviews with 118 former undocumented unaccompanied minors who were recruited through the personal networks of the researchers and through contacts with representatives of (private) organizations who support the youngsters. The undocumented minors are excluded from formal employment as well as provisions of the welfare state. By far the largest group of the undocumented (former) unaccompanied minors has never been involved in criminal activities and only one third of them work in the informal economy. The sectors in which these youngsters perform informal work vary from cleaning and construction to catering and personal services. The work is characterized by uncertain working hours. There are often few hours available and the work often takes place on call. The pay is meagre and few respondents can survive exclusively on their earnings. The undocumented (former) unaccompanied minors are mainly supported by friends and private organizations for their living and housing. It is because of this support that the youngsters do not roam the streets and can continue their illegal stay in the Netherlands. The strong orientation of the youngsters towards a lawful residence in the Netherlands causes them to fear the risks of arrest while working, so they rather settle for the limited support of private organizations and friends. The support of private organizations and the focus of the youngsters towards a lawful stay thus constitute a buffer against exploitation.