This paper is the first report from a major research project: ‘Changing status, changing lives? The socioeconomic impact of EU enlargement on low-wage migrant labour in the UK’. It explores the employment experiences of migrants from East and Central Europe working in low-wage occupations in selected sectors of the UK economy (agriculture, construction, hospitality and the au pair sector); and the nature and determinants of employer demand for migrant labour in these sectors. It investigates in particular the role of immigration status – including ‘illegal residence’ – as a potential determinant of both employer demand and the conditions of migrants’ employment. The paper hopes to make a significant contribution to academic and policy debates on immigration in general, and on immigration status and employment in particular.
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