restricted access Integration of Minority Migrant Workers in Lanzhou, China

Past research on China’s migrant workers—those officially registered in agricultural households but work in the city—has shown that China’s hukou system, or registration system, restricts them from obtaining city household registration, without which access to social security is limited. Little research has been done on the integration of migrant workers of minority origin. Based on a 2011 survey of 1,090 minority migrant workers in Lanzhou, a northwestern city of China, this paper examines two aspects of integration: an objective one that measures access to social security benefits, and a subjective one that gauges the belief of inequity in employment opportunity. The paper argues that integration of minority migrant workers in China involves being treated equally in basic benefits as urbanites, and such treatment affects their sense of fairness in the labour market. The findings suggest that integration of minority migrant workers involves not only cultural or economic factors, but also issues of entitlement and sense of inequality.