Diversity in Action: Mapping Exercise of Migrant Workers in Two Council Areas of Northern Ireland

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Through globalisation, the structure of the workforce today has changed significantly in relation to age, gender, ethnicity, culture, education, disabilities and values (Monks, 2007). This is especially true throughout the United Kingdom (UK) since May 2004 when the expansion of the European Union (EU) gave nationals of eight countries, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Estonia (commonly known as the Accession 8 (A8)) free access to the UK labour market via the Workers Registration Scheme (WRS). This allowed nationals from these eight nations to arrive in the UK and openly compete for vacancies. However not all migrant workers originate from the EU, between 1 April 2004 and 31 March 2006, a total of 321,000 work permits were approved in the UK and of these there were just over 6,700 (2.1%) to people working in Northern Ireland. This study is concerned with a ‘mapping exercise on migrant workers’; the related data was collected from two neighbouring council areas within Northern Ireland. The study was commissioned by a forum of public sector bodies to enable the dissemination of information regarding various services in the public domain. Questionnaires were utilised to collect data from the 581 participants followed by focus groups to discuss some of the points highlighted in the questionnaire. In addition to the demographic information on the participants i.e. Nationality, gender, age, expected length of stay, education and occupation, participants were also asked to identify the biggest challenges when arriving in Northern Ireland, 70% stated ‘language’ and 27% ‘finding a job’. Whilst ‘discrimination’ was reported as a challenge by 15% of all participants this varied significantly between the two council areas with results of 3.6% and 22% respectively. The role of employers was also considered and 35 semi structured face to face interviews took place with employers of migrant workers within the area. The interviews investigated the benefits and/or problems related to employing migrant workers, integration with the indigenous staff, reasons for recruiting migrant workers and special training or policies needed for employment


Keywords: Immigration, Diversity, Migrant Workers
Stream: Immigration, Refugees
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr Steve McPeake

PhD Student, School of Business Organisation and Management
Faculty of Business and Management, University of Ulster

Coleraine, Northern Ireland, UK


Ref: D08P0389