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Migrants are called dagongcai, slang for peasants in the city. Most of them have arrived here with the laoshang, or groups of workers recruited from the same village.

This is from a Christian Science Monitor article, which I came across via a link from Asian Labour News. I'll recommend both sites in the passing (CSM sounds like it's going to tell you we aren't really all evolved from monkeys, but it's actually a damned good news source) but that's not the point.

I'm assuming the 'laoshang' in the article should be 'laoxiang - 老乡' but what is the 'cai' in 'dagongcai'? Any ideas?


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打工仔 is actually a Cantonese vocabulary which is very common in Guangzhou/HK.

仔 refers to common guys in Cantonese and this word is seldom used in Putonghua.

Since most of the 打工仔 from other provinces have gathered in the Pearl River Delta since '80s, they are addressed by local folks with such label.

Such Cantonese term has become loan words in Mandarin vocabulary.

Actually Mandarin is "invaded" by a lot of these Cantonese loan words.

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