Part of the Unequal Wales Seminar Series

An Unequal Wales Seminar delivered by Dr Stephen Drinkwater and Dr Andrew Thompson.

All parts of the UK have seen increasing levels of labour migration over the past decade, especially from Central and Eastern Europe in the aftermath of EU enlargement in 2004. The presentation began by using a range of quantitative data sources to provide an overview of migration to Wales, as well as to identify other patterns such as the areas where there are the highest concentrations of new migrants. This was followed by an analysis of how recent migrants arriving in Wales from new member states have fared in the labour market, especially in comparison to migrant workers from other parts of the world and to UK born workers. Their position was also contrasted with similar groups of migrants residing in other parts of the UK. A particular emphasis is placed on the types of jobs that new migrants have found, especially in terms of the clustering within certain low wage sectors.

The second part of the presentation drew on qualitative data to look in closer detail at the journey followed by some of those who have moved from Poland to work in Wales. We explored the forces which influence the decision to move abroad, including the role of migrant networks and commercial organisations in supporting migration. Research on migration routinely casts migrant personal networks as one of the main conduits through which mobility is encouraged and facilitated, but local staffing agencies have also played a pivotal role in bringing labour to Wales. We then moved on to examine migrants’ integration into the host economy and society. For some, there remains a dependency on support from local organisations, while for others their networks and skills enable them to access a wider range of employment opportunities. We finish by reflecting more generally on the phenomenon of ‘temporary migration’, and in particular how migrants’ motivations for remaining abroad often change the longer they remain away from home.

This event began with a drinks reception.

Other events in the series: