Dr María Villares-Varela

Dr María Villares-Varela

The Department of Entrepreneurship & Local Economy
Research Fellow

Contact details

Birmingham Business School
University House
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

María is a Research Fellow at CREME carrying out research in the field of ethnic minority business and small firms.



  • PhD in Sociology (2010) (European Doctorate) with the thesis entitled “Immigration and Entrepreneurship in Spain: the Differential Mobilization of Financial, Human and Social Capital”. ESOMI (University of A Coruña-Spain). Graduated with Honours: Excellent cum laude
  • MA in Globalization and Society (2005) University of A Coruña-Spain- Thesis title: “Labour Transitions for Migrants in the Spanish Labour Market”. First Class Pass. Graduated with Honours.
  • BA in Sociology (2003). Department of Sociology and Political Science. University of A Coruña. First Class Pass


María joined the Business School in May 2014 after working as a researcher since 2010 at the International Migration Institute (University of Oxford) in the projects ‘The Drivers and Dynamics of High-Skilled Migration’ and ‘The Determinants of International Migration’ (DEMIG). She completed her PhD entitled 'Immigration and Entrepreneurship in Spain: the Differential Mobilization of Financial, Human and Social Capital' (2010). Her research explores the impact of financial and human capital on the mobilization of social capital for the entrepreneurial strategies of Latin Americans in Spain.

María was also involved in the OECD-funded project 'Latin American Immigration to OECD Countries'; the 5th Framework Project 'The Chances of Second Generation Family Members of Ethnic Entrepreneurs: Intergenerational and Gender Aspects of Quality of Life Processes' (co-ordinated by Frankfurt am Main University); and the European Social Fund project 'EQUAL CONVIVE +: Labour Incorporation of Immigrants as Self-Employees'.

She has been a visiting scholar at COMPAS (University of Oxford); IMES (University of Amsterdam); ISET (London Metropolitan University); School of Social Sciences and Law (Oxford Brookes); and ERCOMER (University of Utrecht).


Current research interests include:

  • Immigrant entrepreneurship
  • Family businesses
  • Gender and intergenerational dynamics
  • Latin American entrepreneurs
  • High-skilled migration
  • Labour market incorporation of migrants

Other activities


  • Member of MIGRALAC (Latin American and Caribbean Migration Network), University of Oxford
  • Research Associate, International Migration Institute, University of Oxford


Forthcoming, Ram, M., Edwards, P., Jones, T. Villares, M. From the Informal Economy to the Meaning of Informality: Developing Theory on Firms and Their Workers, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy DOI 10.1108/IJSSP-06-2016-0075.

Forthcoming Ram, M., Jones, T. and Villares, M. ‘Ethnic minority entrepreneurship: a critical perspective’ , Essers, C., Dey, P., Tedmanson, D., and Verduyn, K. Handbook Critical Perspectives on Entrepreneurship. Challenging dominant discourses in entrepreneurship London: Routledge.

Villares-Varela, M. (2016): “Not helping out”: classed strategies of the (non) contribution of children in immigrant family businesses, Ethnic and Racial Studies,http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2016.1206591

Toma, S. and Villares-Varela, M. (2015): 'The role of migration and higher education policies in international academic mobility. The case of Indian researchers', International Migration Institute (IMI) Working Paper Series, University of Oxford, 123, 1-22

Toma, S., Villares-Varela, M., Czaika, M. (2015): 'Internationalisation and diversification of Indian academic careers', International Migration Institute (IMI) Working Paper series, 121.

Jones, T., Ram, M., Li, Y., Ewards, P. and Villares, M. (2015) ‘Super-diverse Britain and new migrant enterprises’, Institute for Research into Super Diversity (IRiS) Working Paper Series, WP8EndFragment    

Czaika, M. and Villares, M. (2014): Labour market activity, occupational change and length of stay in the Gulf, Migration Studies  doi: 10.1093/migration/mnu048

Vezzoli, S., Villares-Varela, M. and H. de Haas (2014), 'Uncovering international migration flow data: Insights from the DEMIG databases', IMI Working Paper 88. Oxford: International Migration Institute.

Villares, M. (2013), ‘Migración y autoempleo en AL: lecciones aprendidas para la inserción laboral por cuenta propia’, Propuesta para vincular las políticas de migración y empleo en ALC, Fundación Internacional y para Iberoamérica de Administración y Políticas Públicas (FIIAPP).

Ribas, N. and Villares, M. (2012), ‘Aproximación al empresariado de origen inmigrante desde una perspectiva europea y de género’, in López, F (coord.) Empresariado Inmigrante, Instituciones y Desarrollo. Ed. Comares. Granada

Oso, L. and Villares, M. (2012), ‘Empresariado étnico en Galicia: una alternativa a los nichos ocupacionales ‘enclaustrantes’ para la población inmigrante’, in López, F (coord.) Empresariado Inmigrante, Instituciones y Desarrollo. Ed. Comares. Granada

Villares, M. (2012), “¿Por el negocio o a pesar del negocio? La intersección entre familia y empresa para los inmigrantes emprendedores” [For the business or despite the business? The intersection between family and business for immigrant entrepreneurs] in Papers Vol. 97 (3), pp. 641-660

Villares, M. (2012), ‘Inmigración y empresa en Galicia: la movilización del capital humano, financiero y social’ . Editorial Académica Española.

Villares, M.(2010), ‘El uso de la familia como capital social: narrativas de los hogares y negocios’ [The Use of Family as Social Capital: Narratives on the Household and the Business] in Estudios Migratorios, vol 3(2), pp 115-140

Villares, M. (2011), ‘Immigrant Entrepreneurship in Spain as Empowerment Strategy for Women’, in Tsobanoglou, G. (ed): Women Livelihoods and Socio Economic Growth. The Women Press.Delhi

Oso, L. y Villares, M. (2010), ‘La inserción socio-laboral de los emigrantes gallegos en Europa: los casos de Francia y Países Bajos’, in Estudios MIgratorios no. 18.

Villares, M. (2010), 'Female Immigrant Entrepreneurship in Spain: The Creation of a Model for the Analysis of Entrepreneurship Strategies', in M. Abraham et al (eds.), Women and Citizenship in a Local/Global World, Farnham: Ashgate.

Oso, L., Ribas, N. Villares, M. (2009), 'L’insertion sur el marché du travail des femmes marrocaines en Espagne: service domestique et entreprenariat éthnique', MRE, précarité et droits humains, Fondation Hassan II

Villares, M. and L. Oso (2008), 'Latinoamericanos empresarios en España: una estrategia de movilidad ocupacional', in G. Herrera and J. Ramírez, América Latina migrante: Estado, familia, identidades, Ecuador: FLACSO.

Oso, L., Golías, M. and Villares, M (2008) ‘Entrepreneurial process among migrant communities in Galicia’ European Social Fund-Equal Convive Máis. Xunta de Galicia

Oso, L., Golías, M., and Villares, M. (2008), ‘Inmigrantes y retornados en Galicia: la construcción del puente transnacional’, in Política y Sociedad, no 45

Villares, M. and R. Martinez (2006), 'Contextos de llegada e instalación', in A. Izquierdo (ed), Demografía de los extranjeros. Incidencia en el crecimiento de la población española. Fundación BBVA.

Oso, L. and Villares, M. (2005), ‘Mujeres inmigrantes latinoamericanas y empresariado étnico: dominicanas en Madrid, argentinas y venezolanas en Galicia’, in Revista Galega de Economía, vol. 14 Universidad de Santiago de Compostela