An institutional perspective on managing migrant workers in the North of England


Despite advances made in our understanding of migrant worker issues, analysis of the literature reveals disconnections between the policy and practice of 'managed migration' across three fundamental levels of the state (e.g. public institutions at the EU, national and regional levels), corporate (e.g. employers and unions) and community (e.g. migrant social networks) levels. Consequently, this has implications on corporate and community aspects that often escape deeper analytical scrutiny. Concomitantly, the literature often assumes that policy decisions at the state level are necessarily homogeneous, and fails to account for the local specificities that could exist in this area. This research therefore sought to investigate the interplay between state, corporate and community levels in managing migrant workers across three regions in the North of England, and explore its implications on managing migrant worker employment in construction. The key research questions examined include the critical issues confronted by state, corporate and community actors in terms of framing migrant worker issues, and the nature of existing interactions between these stakeholders in terms of managing migrant workers in each of the three regions. Cross-regional comparisons were also considered in this research. Through interviewing key participants, it was found that subtle differences exist in regional government actors' response to the impacts of migration through their policy formation. It was also noted that interactions between the three levels vary substantially cross the three regions, and the tendency for stronger relationships to be forged between government and corporate actors where economic imperatives are concerned, with weaker and more ad hoc connections made between stakeholders across the three levels where social policy is concerned. It was concluded that any migration policy cannot be viewed as stand-alone, since empirical analysis across the three regions demonstrate the intertwining dimensions of linking migration policy with social and employment concerns

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