Last Updated 28 Jul 2020

migrant workers in UK

Essay type Research
Words 4479 (17 pages)
Views 746
Table of contents


There has been a big addition in the figure of migratory workers in the UK in recent old ages ( McKay, Craw & A ; Chopra, 2006 ) . These additions have been spurred on by globalization, the spreads opening in the UK labor market and legislative alterations that provide many and varied methods for coming to the UK. While many migratory workers move into extremely skilled occupations, there are besides a important figure who carry out low-paid, low-skilled occupations in the UK. The wage and conditions in these occupations has become the focal point of much involvement, particularly in the aftermath of the flooring deceases of 23 migratory workers reaping cockles at Morecambe Bay. This essay, hence, critically examines the history of migration and current policies, the ways in which migratory workers have been exploited, wellness and safety hazards they face and legal protections that have been put in topographic point.

History of migration and migration policies

Haven’t found the relevant content? Hire a subject expert to help you with migrant workers in UK

Hire verified expert

The history of migration into and out of the UK is good established ( Sriskandarajah & A ; Drew, 2006 ) . In the past the consequence of this motion has been that people have by and large left the state: normally heading for Australia, New Zealand Canada. Then, more late, people progressively moved out of the UK to Spain and France. It was n't until the eightiess that the UK became a state which had a net inflow of migrators ( Sriskandarajah, Cooley & A ; Kornblatt, 2007 ) . Net in-migration reached its highpoint in the UK in 2004 at 222,600 ; a twelvemonth subsequently it fell back by around 40,000. There were a figure of histrions that caused this alteration. Dobson et Al. ( 2001 ) explain that one ground for this alteration to net in-migration was that the extremely skilled could command better rewards and obtain an improved life style in the UK. In add-on there was besides a big addition in the figure of refuge applications at this clip ( Home Office 2006 ) . Further, with the add-on of new member provinces to the EU, there was increasing migration with 605,375 people successfully registering to work in the UK from these new member provinces ( Home Office, 2007 ) .

Despite the net in-migration to the UK, many do non mean to remain for good. Spencer, Ruhs, Anderson and Rogaly ( 2007 ) found that merely one-fourth of those immigrating from East and Central Europe intended to remain for good. Others once more, can be considered irregular migrators. These are people who have come to the UK without the right authorization. Pinkerton, McLaughlan and Salt ( 2004 ) estimation at that place could hold been every bit many as 430,000 illegal immigrants in the UK in 2001. This figure has been questioned, nevertheless, by Dorling ( 2007 ) who suggests this figure might falsely include US military forces stationed here, and others, thereby unnaturally blow uping the Numberss.

Whatever the true degree of migrators in the UK, both legal and illegal, there have been clear alterations in in-migration policies over the last few decennaries. Laws sing migration into the UK have besides changed quickly and a big assortment of different ways of come ining the UK have been developed ( Dench, Hurstfield, Hill & A ; Akroyd, 2006 ) . A recent Home Office study finds that there about 50 different methods for people migrating to the UK for both work and survey ( Home Office, 2005 ) . Five strategies are identified as peculiarly of import by Dench et Al. ( 2006 ) . The first of these is the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme ( SAWS ) . This was introduced to let workers populating outside the European Economic Area ( EEA ) to work in the UK transporting out seasonal work in the agricultural industry. Under this strategy 16,250 people each twelvemonth who are over the age of 18 and in full-time instruction are allowed to come in the UK for a period of six months to transport out chiefly unskilled work. This includes picking and wadding of harvests and the handling of farm animal. The ordinances allow that workers may travel employers in that period to take into history the variableness in the crop. Workers are supposed to be paid the lower limit pay and supply adjustment, for which they are allowed to bear down & amp ; lb ; 27 a hebdomad.

A 2nd strategy is the Worker Registration Scheme ( WRS ) which applies to people from the eight Accession States ( those that have merely joined the EU ) . In order to forestall mass in-migration and the immediate claiming of benefits, workers traveling to the UK are required to register, and merely one time they have worked without a interruption for 12 months are they entitled to full benefits and other rights. A 3rd strategy is the Sectors Based Scheme ( SBS ) which is designed to let workers to come in the UK to make a insouciant or short-run occupation. This lone applies to two peculiar sectors: nutrient fabrication and cordial reception although it has since been withdrawn from cordial reception because of maltreatment ( Home Office, 2005 ) . A 3rd strategy is the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme ( HSMP ) which is designed to let extremely skilled workers to come in the UK. The Home Office ( 2005 ) study provinces that many migrators come ining the UK under this strategy are physicians or are working in the country of wellness. A 5th class, and the largest method of entry, is through concern and commercial work licenses. Broadly, this allows companies to enroll from outside the UK if they are unable to make full a place with a UK national, or it allows them to travel persons between states within the same company.

Motivations for migration

At the highest degree of analysis one of the chief grounds for in-migration is globalization. Globalization refers to a figure of forces which includes the increased connexions between cognition Centres, easier entree to communications, easier and cheaper travel and an increased flow of labor ( Somerville, 2007 ) . By and large, so, there is much greater integrating across big economic countries such as Europe. It has been argued that one of the specifying marks of globalization is in-migration ( Castles & A ; Miller, 2003 ) . Somerville ( 2007 ) argues, hence, that one of the major factors at the bosom of globalization and so migration is economic sciences. As economic force per unit areas change in the UK, so make the types of occupations for which in-migration occurs. Salt and Millar ( 2006 ) show that in 2005 the industry in which most work licenses were issued was wellness and medical services ( 26.1 % ) . This was followed by computing machine services and direction and concern disposal ( 18.1 % and 11.8 % severally ) . Migrants are, hence, clearly reacting to the peculiar demands that the UK economic system nowadayss to them more readily than those already in the UK. This consequence has been amplified by the fact that the UK has seen a period of uninterrupted growing of the economic system from the mid-1990s until recent old ages.

Therefore there are considerable macroeconomic effects impacting the increased degrees of migration into the UK. These types of findings are besides reflected in tantamount microeconomic phenomena. Blauw ( 2002 ) has examined the grounds why employers have a inclination to utilize migratory workers. Blauw ( 2002 ) found that while employers tended to look foremost in the UK labor market, if they could n't make full the places they had available they began their hunt amongst migratory workers. Research carried out in Northern Ireland by Bell, Jarman and Lefebvre ( 2004 ) found that migrators were required in peculiar to make full both skilled and unskilled spreads in the labor market. It has besides been found that migratory workers are frequently seen by employers as being & A ; lsquo ; better workers ' . Reed ( 2005 ) , for illustration, investigated migratory workers in the nutrient fabrication industry. It was found that the usage of migratory workers had decreased the sum of illness leave every bit good as the turnover of employees.

Many of these findings were backed up by research into employers of migratory workers by Dench et Al. ( 2006 ) . They besides found that in the agricultural industry domestic workers merely did non use for the occupations that required filling, while in the hotels and providing industry domestic workers were non prepared to work the flexible hours that were required for the occupation. Dench et Al. ( 2006 ) points out that it is natural to presume that possibly employers were non seeking really hard to make full their occupations with domestic workers, given that migratory workers often provide cheaper labor. This thought, though, was strongly denied by employers who claimed that they had made extended attempts to enroll domestic workers, but without success. Some employers in the agricultural sector reported that when they tried to enroll from the Jobcentre, possible employees would come for an interview merely so that they could turn out they had been for an interview, so that could claim benefits. Other employers in the same sector explained that domestic workers would frequently discontinue after merely a few yearss ' work. On the other manus migratory workers frequently worked difficult and stayed in the occupation. Some similar consequences were seen in the hotels and providing sector. The attack to their work that domestic workers showed was really low compared to the dedication that migratory workers displayed.

The sum of accomplishment required for the occupation was besides an of import factor for employers ( Dench et al. , 2006 ) . A good illustration was in the building industry where employers particularly valued Polish workers who were extremely motivated and could make full the spread in accomplishments that were seen in the industry. A similar image in relation to accomplishments was besides seen in other industries. In the Finance and Accountancy sector employers complained that they could n't acquire workers with the right makings. As a consequence they had bureaus who would seek globally for the right campaigners. Overall, though, employers understood that the ground that they recruited migrators was that the same sum of money meant more to them than it did to domestic workers.

Of class non all employers accepted migratory labor, some said they were diffident precisely what criterions foreign workers were trained up to, and others thought that their deficiency of eloquence in English was a job ( Dench et al. , 2006 ) . Despite this, many employers saw considerable advantages in using migratory workers. Migrant workers were much more dependable and likely to demo up for work than domestic workers - some employers even had to remind workers to take their one-year vacation. Employers besides saw much lower degrees of turnover with migratory workers. This was likely influenced by the fact that those registered on the WRS have to reregister if they move their employer. Further, employers reported that migratory workers were much more hard-working than domestic workers. This meant they were frequently prepared to work longer hours and were enthusiastic about making overtime. Although non mentioned by many employers it was besides clearly a factor that migratory workers were more likely to be satisfied working for the lower limit pay than domestic workers. Similar findings for why migratory workers are employed are besides revealed by McKay et Al. ( 2006 ) .

There are besides considerable inducements from the migratory workers ' positions to come to the UK for work. Unsurprisingly one of the chief motives is the handiness of work and the deficiency of work in their state of beginning. Research conducted by Norfolk County Council and YMCA Norfolk ( 2005 ) found migratory workers were chiefly motivated by the comparatively high rates of wage in the UK compared to their state of beginning. Many were peculiarly interested in larning English, particularly those who were from states that had late joined the EU.

Exploitation of migratory workers

The motivations for migration in footings of globalization and its specific effects on the labor market clearly set up a state of affairs in which development is a possibility. A recent Trades Union Congress ( 2007a ) study looked at whether migration hurts migrators. They conclude that despite the advantages for employers and the immediate advantages perceived by some migratory workers, there are besides important jobs faced both at the macro- and microlevels. The World Bank ( 2005 ) , for illustration, has examined the effects on world-wide economic sciences of the international flow of labor. This finds that migratory workers themselves are surely better off working outside their ain state, nevertheless, migrators who stay in the same state really do worse over the long-run.

Looking more specifically at the state of affairs in the UK, though, reveals a much more assorted image about the inquiry of migratory workers. A assortment of surveies have attempted to look at the existent on the job conditions of migratory workers. A study from the Health and Safety Executive has looked closely at the types of hazards to which migratory workers are exposed in the workplace ( McKay et al. , 2006 ) . These writers point out that some old grounds suggests that migratory workers face important degrees of development in the workplace. Lawrence ( 2004 ) , for illustration, has pointed to how the nutrient industry has used migratory workers in order to drive down costs and increase productiveness. There have besides been a series of high profile instances in which migratory workers have been injured at work. In the worst of these at Morecambe Bay in 2004, 23 Chinese workers lost their lives while picking cockles when they were caught in lifting tides.

Evidence from the Citizens Advice Bureau ( 2004 ) , though, suggests the maltreatments of migratory workers are more systematic. They provide grounds from a figure of different sectors about the conditions under which migratory workers are employed. In the attention place sector it has been found that many well-qualified workers from other states, such as nurses, have been promised work of a similar degree in the UK but end up in places that are significantly below their degree, such as transporting out cleansing or other humble undertakings. Employers will besides often keep onto the migratory worker 's passport so as to be able to intimidate them. As a consequence of this kind of bullying, many migratory workers report happening it hard to do any sort of ailment against their employer as they are reliant on the money earned to direct back place to their households. Consequently there is improbable to be any alteration in the migratory workers ' place.

Within the cleansing sector, the Citizens Advice Bureau ( 2004 ) study that there are a figure of ways that migrant workers have been exploited. They report on migratory workers who have been recruited to clean motorway service Stationss for & A ; lb ; 600 a month, of which & A ; lb ; 200 is deducted for life costs of a shared room in a house. These workers did non have a contract of employment, a National Insurance figure or a payslip. The Citizens Advice Bureau ( 2004 ) besides study on the enlisting of foreign subjects at universities in the UK who are given cleaning occupations after being told they will be paid in arrears - so they are merely non paid at all.

Within the cordial reception sector more maltreatments have been seen. Again, the Citizens Advice Bureau ( 2004 ) study that workers are hired for cleansing or working in eating houses but are non given National Insurance Numberss, or contracts, and are paid below the National Minimum Wage. In the agricultural industry, the Citizens Advice Bureau ( 2004 ) study that migratory workers negotiate with & A ; lsquo ; gangmasters ' who present themselves as employment bureaus. Workers often face really hapless adjustment as portion of the understanding for which they pay comparatively high rates from their rewards sing the adjustment provided. The Citizens Advice Bureau ( 2004 ) have received ailments on a figure of common subjects. These include really low rates of wage, no proviso of payslips, non-payment of National Insurance parts, really hapless adjustment that is frequently overcrowded and the hazard of dismissal from the occupation without traveling through the proper processs.

The findings of the Citizens Advice Bureau ( 2004 ) were besides echoed by Dench et al. , ( 2006 ) . These writers found studies of many of the same jobs, every bit good as narratives that some gangmasters in East Anglia were merely paying migratory workers & A ; lb ; 1 per hr. This was done lawfully be paying the minimal pay but so claiming back a immense proportion for adjustment. Migrant workers are non merely taken advantage of by employers. There are studies of some people bear downing migrators for the privilege of happening them adjustment and work. Sing the studies from the Citizens Advice Bureau ( 2004 ) and other anecdotal grounds, it seems likely that migratory workers ' wellbeing would be significantly affected by their on the job conditions. Shields and Price ( 2003 ) examined the psychosocial wellbeing of migratory workers in the UK in relation to different labour market results. They found, possibly unsurprisingly given the grounds reviewed so far, that the wellness of the severely treated migratory workers is peculiarly hapless. In add-on they have significantly lower degrees of psychological wellbeing.

Health and safety hazards of migrators

Sing the many reported disadvantages which migrant workers face in the workplace, it is utile to analyze the hazards to which they are exposed. McKay et Al. ( 2006 ) carried out a survey of 200 migratory workers who were interviewed across five different countries in both England and Wales. One of the purposes of the survey was to measure whether migratory workers were placed at any greater hazard than other workers who were of domestic beginning. McKay et Al. ( 2006 ) point out that one of the cardinal issues in wellness and safety is the proviso of preparation. One-third of those who were interviewed in this survey indicated that they had non received any preparation. There was, nevertheless, a considerable difference depending on the sector in which people worked. Those who worked in the populace sector were significantly more likely to have preparation than those who worked elsewhere. It was thought that private sector employers ' attitudes were that one time migratory workers had obtained enfranchisement they would go forth for better occupations.

Clearly one of the jobs in preparation is linguistic communication. Shellekens and Smith ( 2004 ) found that communicating was made peculiarly hard through the usage of slang and proficient footings. Some employers did supply instructions in different linguistic communications but these interlingual renditions were non ever dependable, or were faithfully read by migratory workers. Training was besides limited in the sense that while there was sometimes induction preparation, there was improbable to be any on-going preparation. There was besides considerable confusion about who was responsible for supplying the wellness and safety preparation in the first topographic point. For illustration in instances where migratory workers were employed by an bureau, respondents to the research were ill-defined whose duty the preparation was. Overall McKay et Al. ( 2006 ) argue that migratory workers are likely to be at a disadvantage in footings of equal preparation in their occupations compared to other workers. Consequently it is apprehensible that around half of the migratory workers McKay et Al. ( 2006 ) interviewed had no cognition of wellness and safety processs in their workplace. In footings of equipment there was some confusion uncovered in the survey about whether equal protection was provided - migratory workers frequently claimed they were n't given full equipment while employers claimed they did supply it.

A similar degree of contradictory messages was received when migratory workers and employers were asked about the figure of accidents that occurred in the workplace. A one-fourth of migratory worker respondents indicated that they had suffered or witnessed an accident - a comparatively high proportion ( McKay et al. , 2006 ) . Many besides said that accident were non reported for fright of jeopardizing their occupations. On the other manus, employers stated that accidents were rare and that all accidents, even the most minor, were reported and recorded. Employers did state, though, that they knew migratory workers were brought up in a civilization of incrimination and so would be improbable to describe accidents. Despite the confusing image, McKay et Al. ( 2006 ) conclude that degrees of accidents are likely higher amongst migratory workers. This is partially due to the fact that employers who agreed to be interviewed were likely more likely to hold good processs in topographic point along with the fact that migratory workers who have experienced jobs are besides more likely to come frontward for the interviews. This might partially explicate the spread in coverage.

The general public assistance of workers was besides examined by McKay et Al. ( 2006 ) who looked at the temperature of working conditions, the interruptions, noise and chemicals. They found, once more, that there was confusion over interruptions with employers by and large stating that interruptions were allowed, while migratory workers stating that they frequently were n't - or at least that their wage was docked if they did take a interruption. Similar differences were seen on the inquiry of temperature - many migratory workers worked in the extremes of temperature. For noise and chemicals there were few differences seen between migrator and other workers. Other types of ailments about working confirmed the findings of the Citizens Advice Bureau ( 2004 ) study: that migrant workers work long hours and frequently did non hold written footings of employment.

As a consequence of these findings the Trades Union Congress ( 2007b ) have made a figure of recommendations to better the on the job conditions of migratory workers. They argue that all accidents should be reported, that there should be sufficient proviso of first assistance and public assistance, that the right protective equipment should be provided along with equal preparation and information. This preparation and information should be accessible and hence translated into the relevant linguistic communication should this be required. Finally the TUC recommends that migratory workers should fall in a trade brotherhood so as proper support and administration can be provided.

Legal protection for migratory workers

Since migratory workers are so susceptible to exploitation it is natural to inquire what legal protection is in topographic point to better their on the job conditions. Since, as McKay et Al. ( 2006 ) point out, migratory workers are amongst the most vulnerable, they surely require excess protection. One peculiar job identified by McKay et Al. ( 2006 ) is the behavior of some & A ; lsquo ; gangmasters ' and how it has been addressed by excess legal protection. A gangmaster is person who is responsible for the payment and supervising of a whole group of workers. While some gangmasters behave decently, others have been identified as the cause of serious jobs. Anderson and Rogaly ( 2005 ) have found that the employment relationship can be earnestly confused in the instance where migrators are employed through gangmasters. Surveies of gangmasters have found that merely 10 % of them follow the jurisprudence on employment and 40 % were interrupting the jurisprudence in at least six different ways ( Lawrence, 2004 ) .

To try to battle some of these jobs the Gangmasters ( Licensing ) Act 2004 introduced excess protection for those working in the piscaries and agricultural sectors. This purported to present the condemnable offense of undertaking with gangmasters who had non followed the proper licensing processs. These licensing processs are an effort to look into bureaus and gangmasters follow the proper employment processs such as making the relevant wellness and safety criterions. The Act has been badly criticised, nevertheless, as since it came into force the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs ( DEFRA ) has been really slow to pull up the ordinances. Besides, since the ordinances have been drawn up it has become clear that the original powers of the Act have been significantly reduced ( Davies & A ; Freedland, 2007 ) .

One of the clearest ways in which this legal protection is limited is that it merely doesn't cover the huge bulk of migratory workers, who work in industries other than agribusiness or piscaries. But even in the industries that it does cover, there is a degree of agnosticism about whether it will do a immense impact ( McKay et al. , 2006 ) . Employers pointed out that the existent criterions required in the licensing were comparatively low and that much more rigorous steps need to be put in topographic point. The coverage of the system across the state besides appears to be patchy. There was grounds that gangmasters had moved from one portion of the state to another in order to avoid ordinance. In add-on, many felt that the audit itself did n't look excessively closely into the existent yesteryear working patterns of the gangmasters and bureaus themselves. Finally, there were besides inquiries about how good these new Torahs would be enforced.


The motivations for migration appear to be strong in the current labor market state of affairs: globalization, accomplishment deficits and the sheer handiness of certain occupations in the UK mean that migratory workers are in demand. Changes to in-migration policies have meant that there are now a assortment of strategies available for migratory workers to come to the UK. Overall the point should be made that the consequence of migration on both the host and place states is likely positive. Unfortunately it has become clear, due to recent surveies, that a important proportion of migratory workers, peculiarly those working in low-paid, low-skilled businesss, are being exploited. This development appears to run right from the simple bending of regulations to the complete flouting of standard UK employment patterns. Both Health and Safety and TUC probes have uncovered serious defects in the intervention of migratory workers. New regulations have been introduced by Gangmasters ( Licensing ) Act 2004 to seek and control the illegal patterns of gangmasters and bureaus. Despite this, and despite the immature age of the statute law, these regulations have been roundly criticised for neglecting to supply equal protection for migratory workers. Not least of these unfavorable judgment is that the statute law does n't cover the bulk of migratory workers. Clearly much greater degrees of ordinance are required to protect those migratory workers who are at the highest hazard of being exploited in the UK labor market.

Haven’t found the relevant content? Hire a subject expert to help you with migrant workers in UK

Hire verified expert

Cite this page

migrant workers in UK. (2018, Sep 07). Retrieved from

Not Finding What You Need?

Search for essay samples now

We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Save time and let our verified experts help you.

Hire verified expert