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Report on Low-skilled Migration

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has found that failures to comply with or enforce labour regulations puts low-skilled migration workers at risk of exploitation.

The Report (pdf) reveals that the enforcement bodies responsible for protecting vulnerable workers, HMRC and the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA), are under-resourced and the penalties for tackling non-compliance and exploitation of migrant workers too weak.

Overall, it concludes that over the last 20 years migrant workers have not had a major impact on UK employment, the pay of British workers, on the wider UK economy, nor in the areas of healthcare, housing, crime, educaation and welfare benefits. The most impact has been on local authorities, who have struggled to cope with rapid population change.

Professor Sir David Metcalf CBE, chair of the MAC, said:

“Our flexible labour market has served us well. But vulnerable low-skilled workers, whether British or foreign, need protection.

“There is incomplete compliance with and enforcement of labour regulations, and regulatory resources and penaltie are inadequate.

“A typical employer can expect a compliance visit just once in 250 years and a prosecution once in a million years.

“We must also redouble our efforts to equip our young people with the skills to compete in a flexible job market.”

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