The importance of the broader legal environment – the extra-personal factors such as migration laws and the labour market that together shape the opportunity structures for migrants – is well known (Menjivar 2000; Portes and Rumbaut 1990; Portes and Zhou 1993). The immigration laws determine who stands inside or outside of the law (or in-between) and also dictate whether migrants have access (or partial access) to resources, to what kind and for how long. The legal, political and economic contexts into which migrants arrive result in either a favourable or an adverse reception.