Spatial, Sectoral and Temporal Trends in A8 Migration to the UK 2004-2011: Evidence from the Worker Registration Scheme

Dr David McCollum, University of St Andrews

This project was funded by the AQMeN (Applied Quantitative Methods Network) Collaborative Small Grants Scheme and involved collaborative working between researchers from the universities of St Andrews and Dundee and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the Scottish Government.

The focus of the project was on spatial, sectoral and temporal trends in A8 migration to the UK 2004-2011. The research involved analysis of the Worker Registration Scheme (WRS), which was an administrative dataset introduced by the British government in May 2004 to monitor the flows of migrants from the new ‘Accession 8’ countries (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) entering the UK to take up employment for a period of one month or longer. The scheme ran for 7 years from May 2004 to April 2011.

Data derived from the WRS were analysed in order to investigate: 

  • The origins of A8 nationals
  • The sectoral breakdown of WRS registrations.
  • The relative importance of A8 migration to particular sectors of the economy, with estimates produced by comparing the volume of WRS registrations in particular sectors with the total number of jobs in these sectors.
  • The geographic breakdown of WRS registrations at Government Office Region and local authority level.
  • The relative prevalence of A8 migration in regional and local labour markets, measured as the volume of WRS registrations in Government Office Regions and local authorities as a percentage of the overall number of workforce jobs in these areas.
  • Temporal changes in the volume of WRS registrations.
  • The impact of the recession on immigration from East-Central Europe as measured by changes in WRS registrations between 2008 quarter two and 2009 quarter two by sector, Government Office Region and local authority.
  • The nature of the relationship between the volume of inflows of A8 migrants and labour market and demographic circumstances in receiving local authorities in Scotland, by developing a linear regression model to test the predictive power of conditions in local authorities in terms of the number of WRS registrations that they were recorded as receiving i.e. how did labour market and demographic factors affect the number of migrants that an area received?