Migrants' Rights Network

Employment and the Labour Market

Migration for the purpose of employment is one of the main reasons why migrants undertake their journeys.  Their physical and mental well-being and exposure to the risk of poverty is strongly influenced by their success or otherwise in achieving decent standards of employment.  

Because of this MRN has given particular consideration to the study of labour market outcomes for migrants, identifying the risks that exist for exploitation and underpayment of wages.

Examples of the research work we have conducted include:

  • The impact of ‘right to work’ checks by employers of prospective and existing migrant employers.
  • The effect of other immigration enforcement measures that centre on the workplace.
  • The predominance of agency working amongst migrants.
  • The over-concentration of migrants in low pay, casual sectors of employment.
  • Access to language training during work time.
  • Underpayment of minimum wage rates.
  • Illegal deductions from wages.
  • Exploitation and modern day slavery.
  • Role of trade unions in gaining access to rights.
  • Role of other organisations in gaining access to rights.
  • The standard of ethical employment practices on the part of employers.

We have:

  • Published commentaries on employment and labour market issues on our website.
  • Published the Papers Please report on the impact of the civil penalty regime on the employment rights of migrants in the UK.
  • Drafted the ‘negotiator’s guide’ Immigration Document Checks and Workplace Raids for the TUC.
  • Organised a roadshow training event for organisers of the GMB.
  • Addressed meetings of members of Unite the Union, Unison and the GMB on migrant worker rights.
  • Addressed meetings of the Ethical Trading Initiative on risks of migrant exploitation.
  • Addressed meetings of and written articles for Global Action Against Trafficking in Women on exploitation and modern day slavery.
  • Assisted the Health & Safety Commission in developing policies on workplace safety issues for migrants.
  • Advised migrant community groups working on employment as cleaners for Transport for London and domestic workers.
  • Organised our own meetings and seminars on risks to migrant workers.
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