Case Study

Research to Understand EU Migrant Labour

Client: Three Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs): Humber; Leeds City Region; York, North Yorkshire and East Riding | Sectors: Social Policy, Regions and Cities


• Semi-structured interviews 90 businesses in sectors with high proportions of EU Migrants across the three LEP areas
• Semi-structured interviews with recruitment agencies employing EU migrants across the three areas
• Undertake qualitative interviews with EU Migrants and key stakeholders (tending to be organisations either representing businesses or EU migrants)
• Additional desk research
• Research Objectives
• How, and to what extent, businesses could be impacted if there was reduced access to EU labour and skills?
• Are there certain sectors, occupations or areas that will be affected more than others by reduced access to EU labour and skills?
• What are the views of EU migrants in relation to Brexit? In particular, their future plans to stay/work in the UK and the type of support they would like to see from employers?
• What are business doing now and/or planning to do to support their EU migrant workforce?
• What contingency plans, if any, do businesses have in place in the event of reduced access to EU migrant workers?
• How support organisations can best support businesses with the labour and skills gaps that could potentially materialise as a result of Brexit? 

The report for this study has not been officially approved and finalised (this should be done shortly). As a result, we need to avoid being too definitive around outcomes at this stage. However, we can talk around the research identifying:

• The extent that EU migrants leaving is a concern across businesses in the areas and within particular sectors
• The extent that it is perceived that mitigating actions can be taken in certain sectors, for example automation, increasing supply of UK workers, training/skilling staff
• Ability of businesses to implement business plans with regards to Brexit
• Potential support that could be offered to businesses and also by businesses to EU migrant workers
• EU migrant workers perception of Brexit and the impact on their future plans and perceptions of those in their home countries

Detailed results were provided on a range of key issues, examining in particular the extent that EU migrants leaving was a concerns across businesses and sectors, the potential impact of mitigating actions (e.g. automation, training etc), and specific support that could be provided both to businesses and from businesses to migrants. 

Key Experts

Diarmid Campbell-Jack Senior Research Manager