Outline of IER project on Labour Migration and Workers' Rights
This project examined public policy concerning labour migration from an employment rights perspective. The aim was to develop policy recommendations which recognise the legitimacy of labour migration. In addition it developed proposals to secure the effective application of labour rights and standards in a context of labour migration.
The project involved trade unions, migrant workers’ groups and relevant NGOs, as well as academics and lawyers with an interest in labour migration. Working Party meetings started in Autumn 2004 with analysis and recommendations presented in a publication and at a conference in 2005.
In terms of the detail, the policy issues discussed included:
- What recommendations can be made concerning the rules and procedures governing work permits?
- What of the entitlements of work permit holders?
- Do we have views on the main labour migration schemes (working holidaymakers, seasonal agricultural workers, highly-skilled migrants, sectors-based scheme)?
- What of the labour market regime for nationals of the new EU member states?
- Should the right to work be extended to other groups (eg. asylum applicants)?
- Are changes required to discrimination law in order to protect migrant workers?
- More fundamentally, are there new categories of legal labour migration we would like to see developed?
irregular labour migration.
- Do we have a view on the system of employer checks and sanctions?
- Do we support the criminalisation of trafficking for labour?
- What of other techniques for curtailing irregular labour migration?
- Alternatively, do we support the existence of mechanisms for the regularisation of irregular labour migrants?
labour rights and standards.
- Is there evidence of difficulty in extending employment rights, basic labour standards or collective bargaining to migrant workers?
- How might the enforcement of rights and standards be enhanced with respect to migrant workers?
- After the Gangmasters’ Licensing Bill, are further sectoral initiatives desirable?
- Should immigration and labour standards enforcement be kept separate?
- What of legal rules which restrict the ability of irregular migrants to bring legal complaints?
- Are there existing international agreements which Britain ought to ratify and/or implement fully?
- What of new forms of international co-operation – eg. among states of immigration, or between states of immigration and emigration?