Knowledge by, for and about newcomers

Knowledge by, for and about newcomers

Close this search box.

Action research undocumented workers

Participate Directly


Action research with people who are undocumented



June - November 2023



Action Research

Project description

A collective of wealth funds in Amsterdam made it possible during COVID-19 to provide food to 17,000 people through an alternative food bank. Of this group of people, 80% turned out to be undocumented. Several years later, 6,000 people still depend on this assistance. While at least 4,000 of them are willing and able to work or are directly dependent on someone who is willing and able to work. Potentially, these people who can and want to work would not need this food aid. However, they do not have the proper documents to work in the Netherlands. 

Research question

How can we work with these people to realize self-sufficiency? In such a way that we learn what the possibilities are, despite the legal restrictions? By definition, this means exploring unconventional and creative solutions, because the regular routes (through work) are not accessible. 

Results & insights

With Action Research, we supported 10 people who use the food bank, but have the potential to be self-sufficient. Together with them, we explored what steps they could take within the Amsterdam context to build livelihoods for themselves (and their families). 

The power of communities

An overarching insight is the great capacity of people to support each other. Here we see the greatest opportunities for realizing and scaling up informal solutions within the current legal framework. Amsterdammers with or without ('the right') documents, local residents, social organizations, communities; people show that there is support to contribute to subsistence security for people who are undocumented.

Related projects

Direct Participation team

Participate Directly

Within Direct Meedoen, we supported a total of 75 Ukrainian households (around 200 individuals) for one year, in Zaanstad, Amsterdam and Nijmegen.
Expert pool Hollands Kroon

EU migrant workers Hollands Kroon

In Hollands Kroon, we are conducting action research on the integration of workers from EU countries in the agricultural sector.
Results Direct Participation

Ukrainians in the labor market

Together with Regioplan, we conducted research on the labor participation of Ukrainian refugees in the Dutch labor market.

This project was supervised by:

project manager

Sandrine Lafay

Action Research Team-Leader

They also participated in this project

Rodrigo Ferraz

Action Researcher

Yaman Attar

Action Researcher

Hans Hemels

Volunteer help desk

Renée Frissen

Founder and director

Mahad Hussein

Action Researcher

Jolien de Vries

Action Researcher
Close this search box.