The impact of migrant workers on the functioning of
labour markets and industrial relations:
ESRC seminar series
A longitudinal study of A8/A2 migrant workers
in the East of England, Year 1 and 2:
Reviewing the methodology, questioning the
policy outcomes
Dr Deb Holman and Dr Claudia Schneider
Longitudinal Study of Migrant Workers in the East
of England, 2008 - 2011
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Introduction
Methodology
Findings
Policy Environment
Implications for the Study
Longitudinal Study of Migrant Workers in the East
of England, 2008 - 2011
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Commissioned by East of England Development
Agency and part-funded by European Social
Fund
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We were asked to examine:
Factors that influence decisions on coming to UK and
length of stay
Barriers to full participation in the regional economy
Barriers to social inclusion in local communities
How these alter over time
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Methodological approach
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Mixed methods research
Combining quantitative with qualitative research
methods
AND
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Multi-method design
The use of two or more quantitative or qualitative
methods
AND
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Longitudinal (panel study approach)
Methodological approach
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Survey – in three languages (2 years)
Semi-structured interviews with European
citizens from A8/A2 countries (3 years)
Case studies of European citizens from
A8/A2 countries
Analysis of Polish blogs
Diaries
Semi-structured interviews with stakeholders
(years 2 and 3)
Methodological approach - advantages
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Mixed and multi-methods research: general
advantages (Tashakkori and Teddlie 2003)
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Offering a range of views and perspectives
Providing better opportunities to answer
research question
To provide better criteria to evaluate findings
Methodological approach - advantages
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Advantages specific to our research
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Compatible findings of quant. and qual. data
collection methods due to conceptual framework
approach
Convergent findings from quant. and qual. research
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Quant. research provided scope and links between
variables
Qual. research provided concrete illustrations and an
insight into reflection processes
Longitudinal
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To go beyond a one-off snapshot common to migration
research
Reflecting fluidity and change in migration decisions
Methodological approach - limitations
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Mixed methods
 Survey over two years, interviews over three years
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Retention
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Issues regarding comparison
Vouchers as incentives for participation
Survey low participation of participants in year 2 (38%)
Interviews - (relatively small) loss of participants
Typical for panel studies, intensified by migrants’ mobility
Multi-methods (qualitative)
 Interviews with European citizens – retention
 Diaries (+ online discussion forum and one day information event
to support research process): lack of engagement
 Analysis of Polish blogs: snapshot approach; identifying themes
Methodological approach - limitations
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Longitudinal approach
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Not a ‘perfect’ panel study
Qualitative analysis of interviews with
European citizens based on identification of
themes
Next level of analysis (aim for academic
publication): linking themes more
systematically and building an overall theory
on decision making of length of stay
Findings of year 2 of longitudinal study
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Less ambiguity regarding intentions of length of stay
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Longer stay than initially anticipated
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Relative low impact of recession on length of stay
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Renewed emphasis on social factors affecting
length of stay
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Relevance of economic, financial, educational,
financial and family opportunities in the UK
Findings of year 2 of longitudinal study
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Relevance of transnationalism – positive or very
positive perception of the UK (wider social,
economic and political situation) relative to
perceptions of country of origin
Shift and achievement of goals reflecting a
longer or indefinite stay
The ambitious, determined and achieving
migrant
Main barriers in the UK: Non recognition of skills,
language and the media
Policy Environment
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Project developed as the presence of migrant workers
from new European countries living and working in the
UK was increasingly coming under question
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As numbers rose, questions and assertions posed by
various commentators rose too: their net economic
contribution, threatened overload of local services,
housing and health, claims they would drive down wages
and reduce job options for native populations, perceived
lawlessness, and so on (see migration myths)
Policy Environment
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Policy debates dominated by statistics/failures of
Unanticipated consequences/ policy initially sluggish
Growth in initiatives; for example - ESOL, NARIC,
Gangmaster Licencing Authority, transQual, Migrant
Gateway (later MyUKinfo.com). Gaps remain plus
continuing reductions in funding.
Policy defensiveness; recessionary tremors; latter
stages, ‘dead-duck’ Labour administration
Thus, research focused on a highly mobile population
group, but this was set in an increasingly turbulent policy
environment.
European and National Policy
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Accession Treaties, 2003 and 2005
Free Movement of Persons Directive (2004/38/EC)
Accession (Immigration and Worker Registration)
Regulations 2004 (establishing the workers registration
scheme for A8 nationals in the UK) – restrictions apply to
30.4.11
A2 Worker Authorization Scheme – restrictions apply to
31.12.11, but could be extended
Full EEA rights from these points (?)
European and National Policy
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Treaty rights re permanent residence: A8 nationals and
their families can be eligible for permanent residence
once they have exercised their treaty rights for five years
(post May 2004).
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Immigration (EEA) Regulations, 2006 (treaty rights to
residence on a conditional basis)
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Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2009 (section
55, UKBA safeguarding duty in respect of children)
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MAC (Home Office) and MIF (DCLG)
Regional Governance/Changes (Relevant
to Migrant Worker Agenda)
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Government Offices (GO), established 1994
(announced 2010 to be abolished March 2012)
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Local Government Association (LGA),
established 1997
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Regional Development Agencies Act, 1998
(announced 2010 to be abolished March 2012)
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Regional Assembly (Preparations) Act, 2003
Regional Governance/Changes (Relevant
to Migrant Worker Agenda)
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Local Area Agreements (LAAs), 2004
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Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) - accelerated 2006,
Local Government White Paper re non-stat partnerships
‘joining up’ public services; and various other white
papers and guidelines (coalition announcements on
future?)
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Migration Impact Fund, 2008 – distributed via GO
(scrapped August 2010: impact on East of England -rural
localities, in particular - with increasing numbers of new
arrivals from Lithuania and Latvia 2009/2010)
Regional Governance/Changes (Relevant
to Migrant Worker Agenda)
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Regional Assemblies, abolished in 2010, prior to change
of government (e.g. Eastern Region: East of England
Local Government Association assumes EERA’s
functions)
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Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) – sub-regional
bodies - to replace RDAs from April 2012 with some
functions transferred to DCLG (and regional Growth
Fund 1.4 billion running over three years)
= Displacement of regional focus for economic activity
Eastern Region – Migrant Worker Policy Network
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Strategic Migration Partnership (‘tiered regional network’) – one of
twelve, funded by UKBA, established 2000, role expanded to MWs,
2007 - working with EEDA, latterly EELGA, linking up to LAAs and
LSP strategies and MAFs – e.g. see PSA 21/Cohesion
(see Migrant Worker Steering Group – MWSG, EEDA/EELGA)
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Multi-agency Forums (MAFs): community, statutory, voluntary (e.g.
Cambridgeshire Migrant Workers Forum - links to LAAs and LSP
strategies, and SMP, MWSG)
EELGA – No Recourse to Public Funds Group (NRPF) set up 2010
Eastern Region – Migrant Worker Policy Network
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Regional Migrant Workers Steering Group: EEDA,
EELGA, voluntary/community groups, employers’
representatives
MW support organisations: e.g. – Mobile Europeans
Take Action (META, advice and support) at Keystone
DT, Norfolk/Suffolk (community development trust);
Community Action Dacorum, Herts (responsible for
earlier MINEM project); Polish British Integration Centre,
Bedford – established by A8 nationals
Migrant Worker Champions within EEDA, LAs, voluntary
sector and community organisations
Eastern Region – Migrant Worker Policy Network:
Concerns
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2011 - ongoing work; however, funding issues (loss of
MIF, EEDA, ?future UKBA funding) destabilising network
Removal of transitional arrangements May 2011 and
possibly December 2011, changed status to EEA,
justification for cessation of A8/A2 related funding?
LEPs not fully operational until 2012, but no obvious
remit for migrant workers, reduction in funding, no remit
for management of EU funding (DCLG)
Regionally collective action undermined (not just in
relation to migrant workers!)
Impacts on the Research – Progress and
Publication
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Recession
Pre-government change – MWSG (for research
commissioners) enthusiastic about report 2 findings and
recommendations
Pre-electoral purdah delays publication and prevents
press release
Period of uncertainty raises concerns about the capacity
for policy action at regional level
Change of government – EEDA’s abolition is assured
Impacts on the Research – Progress and
Publication
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Report 2 is given little exposure – low key press release
on EEDA site (however, it is used in response to a MAC
consultation)
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Staff turnover: EEDA project manager (MW champion)
changes role; new project manager subsequently leaves
in 2011; 2011 a third project manager
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BIS scrutiny
Year 3 Concerns
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Report 3 almost complete with better retention of ‘mobile’
population group interviewees than anticipated at year 1,
contrasting with loss of ‘stable’ commissioning body,
unanticipated at year 1.
Destination of Final Report?
Policy impact of Final Report?
Next steps?
Contact: [email protected];
[email protected]
Reports available at: http://www.eeda.org.uk/migrantworkers.asp
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