Migration Observatory report: Exploiting the Opportunity? Low-Skilled Work Migration after Brexit

‘Addressing the risk of exploitation in any future low-skilled work route is likely to be extremely difficult.’

This is according to an August 2018 report from the University of Oxford’s Migration Observatory on the future of labour migration for low-skilled work.

This report examines some of the main policy decisions the government will need to make when deciding whether and how to create new routes for labour migration into low-skilled jobs after Brexit.

The report also finds that:

  • The number of non-UK nationals entering low- and middle-skilled jobs would not fall to zero with the end of free movement, though numbers are likely to decline significantly.
  • The two most likely models for a labour migration route after Brexit are youth mobility, and a low-skilled work permit scheme. Both could sit side by side, but the government must weigh up the comparative advantages and disadvantages of each model.
  • The youth mobility model would be simpler to manage for the government, though would not allow for a targeted response to particular labour needs.
  • A work-permit system would give the government more control, however is lilkely to leave some visa holders more vulnerable to exploitation by employers. This could be countered by very effective enforcement of terms and conditions.

Read the full report.