Working Illegally

Type: Vocabulary
Originally published on November 19, 2021 and last updated on July 21, 2023

Exploring the topic of “Working Illegally” is beneficial for English learners as it offers an opportunity to engage in discussions on real-world issues while honing their language skills. Analysing the complexities of illegal labor practices, learners can expand their vocabulary, enhance comprehension abilities and practice expressing opinions and solutions.

By delving into the social, economic and ethical dimensions of this topic, learners can develop critical thinking and cultural awareness, enabling them to navigate challenging conversations and contribute meaningfully to global discussions on immigration, labor rights and fair employment practices.

Go through the vocabulary below with your students and ask them to try and use this vocabaulry where possible when discussing the different conversation questions.

About Working Illegally

Working illegally is a pressing issue with far-reaching implications, as individuals seek employment without proper authorisation or documentation in a foreign country. This clandestine labor practice occurs across various industries, from low-skilled jobs to high-demand sectors.

The reasons behind illegal work may include economic hardship, limited legal pathways or exploitation by unscrupulous employers. However, such actions can lead to legal consequences, exploitation and unfair competition. Understanding the complexities surrounding working illegally is crucial to address the root causes and explore viable solutions to this global phenomenon.

Useful Vocabulary

Try and use the following vocabulary when answering the question. Click to look up the definition in the dictionary

  • as a result of (something) (phrase)
  • course of action (phrase)
  • get away with (phrasal verb)
  • turn a blind eye (to something) (phrase)
  • the law (noun)
  • undocumented (adjective)
  • exploitation (noun)
  • citizenship (noun)
  • report (verb)

Conversation Questions

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  • Would you turn a blind eye if you knew your neighbour was working illegally?
  • What are some reasons why people choose to work illegally in foreign countries?
  • Have you or would you ever work illegally?
  • Do you think your country's current system forces a lot of people to work illegally?
  • How do you think working illegally affects the job market and local workers?
  • What do you think governments can do to reduce the amount of people working illegally?
  • What are the risks and consequences for individuals caught working illegally?
  • Do you believe there are certain industries more prone to hiring illegal workers?
  • What measures can be implemented to provide legal work opportunities for immigrants?
  • What are the challenges faced by undocumented workers in accessing basic rights and protections?
  • Should companies hiring illegal workers face harsher penalties or be held accountable for exploitation?
  • Is the demand for cheap labor a significant driving force behind illegal work practices?
  • Should governments implement amnesty programs for undocumented workers to regularise their status?
  • Should undocumented workers be eligible for the same labor rights and protections as legal workers?
This conversation topic was prepared by Gregory

Gregory is a qualified TEFL teacher who has been teaching English as a Foreign Language (ESL) for over a decade. He has taught in-person classes in Spain and to English learners around the world online.