Research details

International migration and rural economies

Author[s] Experian

Date 2011



The Department for Communities and Local Government [DCLG] commissioned Experian to identify those rural areas recording a high number of migrant workers, their characteristics, and estimate their economic contribution to the rural economy. This report was commissioned by the previous government and is not necessarily a reflection of the current United Kingdom government’s policies and priorities.


The report consisted of 2 stage methodology that combines literature review, quantitative analysis, modelling techniques and qualitative research.


Stage 1 of the research focused on identifying vulnerable areas using quantitative analysis of the Annual Population Survey and other key sources of data on migration, such as the Workers Registration Scheme [WRS] and National Insurance Number Allocations [NINo] datasets.


Stage 2 of the research consisted of consultations with employers to assess their needs and how potential labour shortages could be tackled. Twenty consultations with employers in sectors that employ the highest numbers of migrants: agriculture, hospitality and manufacturing, particularly food-processing were undertaken. Additionally, five consultations with recruitment agencies in rural areas were carried out.

Key issues

The report recognises the importance of the link between international migration and rural economies in the UK. The report consists of 5 sections and looks at:


  • international migration to rural areas
  • migrants’ profiles and their role
  • migrants’ economic contribution
  • future migration trends
  • some key messages from research


The study highlights the value of migrants’ labour to rural areas and more generally the agriculture sector. The study evaluates the impact of the economic downturn on the UK's rural economy and its impact on the number of migrants resident in the UK. It reviews the effects of migration on rural areas in terms of labour markets, competitiveness and public service provision. It aims to identify those areas most at risk to the adverse effect of the downturn and those rural areas in which labour market shortages could potentially develop.

Further details

Resource type
Published by
Department for Communities and Local Government

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