Monday, 18 February 2013

Investigating A8 migration using data from the Worker Registration Scheme: Temporal, spatial and sectoral trends

an article by David McCollum (University of St Andrews, UK) published in Local Economy Volume 28 Number 1 (February 2013)


Since the enlargement of the European Union in May 2004, large numbers of migrants from the A8 countries (Poland, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and Estonia) have joined the UK labour market. A8 migrants were required to register under the Worker Registration Scheme if they took up employment in the UK for one month or longer.

The research presented here analysed this administrative data in order to shed light on spatial, sectoral and temporal trends in registration flows. The findings can help inform understanding of migration patterns, and responses to them, at the national and local levels.

The volume of labour migration flows from East-Central Europe has been substantial and has been concentrated in particular segments of the labour market, with most migrants engaging with the hospitality and agricultural sectors and often working through recruitment agencies.

The volume of new A8 arrivals has decreased since the onset of the recession in 2008 but still remained substantial at the end of the Worker Registration Scheme period. The demand for migrant labour has been relatively consistent in agriculture compared to other sectors of the economy during the recession.

Conceptually this points to migrant labour serving distinct ‘functions’ in the UK labour market.

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