Post-Brexit 'Race to the Bottom' Spells Trouble for Migrant Workers -

Post-Brexit ‘Race to the Bottom’ Spells Trouble for Migrant Workers

  • Published on
    August 30, 2018
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Law & Policy
Hero Banner

Low-skilled migrant workers from Europe risk falling into modern slavery in post-Brexit Britain as employers scramble to find enough workers before Britain leaves the EU and free movement ends.

According to new a report by the Migration Observatory at Oxford University, one idea being floated by the government is employer-sponsored visas to guarantee a continued supply of low-skilled labor. About 15% of low-skilled jobs in the UK are filled by workers from the EU.

However, binding migrant workers to employers may encourage abuse by unscrupulous business according to Madeleine Sumption from Migration Observatory.

“Employer-sponsored visas give government more control over the work that migrants do, but making sure the visas don’t facilitate abuse is a real challenge,” she said.

“If workers can’t leave a bad job, there’s more responsibility on government to prevent exploitation.”

Thomson Reuters Foundation reports:

A Home Office (interior ministry) spokesman said the government will have an immigration system that works in “the best interests of the whole UK” after Brexit in March 2019.

Yet charity Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX) urged the government to spell out how it would guarantee workers long-term labor rights in order to avoid a “race to the bottom”.

“If the government does not act now, then modern slavery will flourish in Brexit Britain,” Caroline Robinson, director of FLEX, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in emailed comments.

Post-Brexit labor migration schemes, such as sponsored visas, must have safeguards including salary thresholds and ways to report abuse without retribution, said Ben Rutledge of the Ethical Trading Initiative, which promotes workers rights.

The shortage of workers has alarmed many employers in the UK, with farmers saying they face a lack of workers to harvest fruit and vegetables. Hospitality companies have also voiced concerns that they cannot fill positions given the lack of interest from British job seekers.

Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

1 Comment
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
5 years ago

Gonna have to pay proper wages now eh.

This week

The popular superfood açaí has a super unpopular secret

Açaí has become well known in recent years as a popular superfood, transforming from a little-known berry grown in the Amazon into one of the most sought-after ingredients. But Brazilian labor officials say hiding behind the boom is a culturally accepted practice of extremely dangerous child labor, according to the Washington Post.  Monitoring almost nonexistent or prone to failure  Açaí berries grow on tall, spindly trees and are sourced almost

| Thursday November 23, 2023

Read more