This article focuses on migrant workers’ agency through exploring the relationship between working and employment conditions, on one side, and labour mobility, on the other. The study is based on qualitative research involving workers from Moldova and Ukraine working in the Russian and Italian construction sector. Fieldwork has been carried out in Russia, Italy and Moldova to investigate informal networks, recruitment mechanisms and employment conditions to establish their impact on migration processes. Overcoming methodological nationalism, this study recognises transnational spaces as the new terrain where antagonistic industrial relations are rearticulated. Labour turnover is posited as a key explanatory factor and understood not simply as the outcome of capital recruitment strategies but also as workers’ agency.