Research details

Migrant workers in South Yorkshire

Author[s] Experian and Inclusion

Date 2008



The study looks at the size and distribution of the migrant worker population in South Yorkshire, United Kingdom, and investigates migrants' skill levels, support needs and expectations. The study was commissioned in 2007 by the Learning and Skills Council in Yorkshire and the Humber to deliver research on migrant workers in South Yorkshire.


The study employed a mixture of quantitative and qualitative research and included literature review, data collection and primary research. The literature reviewed consisted of statistical data gathered by: International Passenger Survey; Annual Population Survey; National Insurance Number Allocations [NINo]; and Workers Registration Scheme [WRS]. The primary research involved a range of telephone consultations, face-to-face interviews and focus groups with employers of migrant labour, recruitment agencies, community representatives and Accession 8 [A8] migrants. It consisted of: 2 focus groups with migrant workers and 4 face-to-face interviews with Polish migrant workers; consultations with community representatives; 6 employers from a range of industries; 6 recruitment agencies; and employees of job centre plus. The report also includes 4 migrant worker case studies and 4 employer case studies. Although the official data sources reviewed provide a good indication of the inflow of migrants into South Yorkshire they do not measure outflows and therefore it is difficult to assess the stock of migrant workers. There may be some migrants who did not register under the WRS and/or NINo.

Key issues

In response to the large flows of economic migrants into the UK since the A8 countries joined the EU there was a need to quantify and understand the new migrant populations in Yorkshire and the Humber. The report looks at the already available official and administrative data on migrant workers from the new European Union countries and estimates their distribution across the region. It reviews migrant workers' role in the South Yorkshire labour market, the type of work they do, their skill levels and barriers they face. The consultations and case studies cover a range of themes including recruitment processes, employment experiences, language issues and support services.


The report concludes that inflows of A8 migrants into South Yorkshire have been substantial but most of the migrants do temporary and/or seasonal work. The majority of migrant workers are employed in low-skilled manual jobs and work long-hours for low wages. Language barrier is considered to be the biggest barrier for them and economic considerations were the main reason for the migrant workers consulted to come to the UK and South Yorkshire.

Further details

Resource type
Published by
Learning and Skills Council Yorkshire and the Humber

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