Migrant workers and vulnerable employment: a review of existing data

February 2008 – July 2008
Overview Methods Findings Outputs Impact
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The aim of this research, undertaken by COMPAS for the TUC Commission on Vulnerable Employment, was to investigate the extent of and conditions relating to vulnerable employment for migrant workers by comparing data from smaller‐scale regional/local datasets with data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and the Workers’ Registration Scheme (WRS).

While there are many media accounts of migrant vulnerability in the labour market, and some analyses accounting for it, there have been limited attempts to quantify this vulnerability. This research sought to fill this knowledge gap.

The indicators of vulnerable employment chosen for this study were: pay, hours, insecurity and accommodation. The geographical focus in the smaller‐scale datasets was two local areas: Birmingham and the West Midlands, and parts of the East of England and East Midlands. The project also analysed a database relating to domestic labour. This database includes many useful indicators both in terms of risk factors associated with individual characteristics (gender, immigration status, age) and vulnerable work. It also contains indicators of forced labour such as dependence on employer for accommodation, reports of threats and physical violence. The resulting analysis was used to deepen understanding of the structures that underpin vulnerable work.

Principal Investigator

Bridget Anderson, Hiranthi Jayaweera


TUC Commission on Vulnerable Employment