Original Research

A framework for the labour market integration of female accompanying spouses in South Africa

Farirai Zinatsa, Musawenkosi D. Saurombe
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 48 | a2006 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v48i0.2006 | © 2022 Farirai Zinatsa, Musawenkosi D. Saurombe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 March 2022 | Published: 29 September 2022

About the author(s)

Farirai Zinatsa, Centre for Development Support, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Musawenkosi D. Saurombe, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


Orientation: The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda highlights that migration is key to inclusive growth and economic development. For economic development to be realised, the full integration of skilled migrants into the labour market is essential.

Research purpose: This research aimed at exploring the labour market experiences and self-initiated strategies of accompanying spouses, also referred to as tied migrants, in their attempt to achieve labour market integration (LMI) in South Africa.

Motivation for the study: Skilled migration of tied migrants remains understudied in the Global South context. Thus, this study sought to fill this gap.

Research approach/design and method: The study used a qualitative research approach to interrogate the experiences of accompanying spouses in South Africa. Thirteen one-on-one interviews were conducted, each lasting for 1.5 h on average. Thematic analysis was applied to the data.

Main findings: Self-initiated strategies that reflect agency and a pushback on governing technologies by accompanying spouses can facilitate integration into the South African labour market. However, these strategies do not guarantee full LMI. The broad exclusionary context, premised on ethnicised rationalities that characterise the South African labour market, makes full LMI difficult to achieve, particularly in the absence of support for integration.

Practical/managerial implications: This study makes practical contributions by making policy recommendations which consider the global agenda for women, especially concerning gender equality and empowerment.

Contribution/value-add: Skilled migration in the global south remains significantly under-researched and there is evidence of significant gaps in literature particularly pertaining to migration by skilled women migrants. This research contributes to bridging this gap.


self-initiated strategies; labour market integration; accompanying spouse; governmentality; economic development


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Crossref Citations

1. Governing policies and factors affecting the labor market integration of female accompanying spouses
Musawenkosi Donia Saurombe, Farirai Zinatsa
Frontiers in Sociology  vol: 7  year: 2023  
doi: 10.3389/fsoc.2022.1084390