On the labour market progress of Polish accession workers in South-East England

Raymond Bachan, Maura Sheehan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The enlargement of the European Union (EU) in May 2004 produced a very significant wave of immigration to the United Kingdom that is likely to continue to impact its labour market in forthcoming years. Polish migrants were by far the largest cohort of the new entrants. This paper complements previous work that has begun to establish the characteristics and labour market performance of migrants from the new member states who have entered the United Kingdom. This paper uses a unique micro-level data base to investigate the labour market evolution of Polish migrants in the UK labour market. We find that in the first UK job returns to human capital were negligible. However, for the current job an extra year of education increases the weekly gross wage by 3.2 per cent. There is evidence of a gender differential in pay in both jobs and that older workers are paid more than their younger counterparts but this effect becomes insignificant in the current job. We find that hours worked is a significant factor in wage determination. However, the influence of hours worked on wages declined by approximately 38 per cent between the first and current job. Results from multinomial logit models suggest that over-time there is some “match” between the occupational groupings that these workers were attached to in Poland and the United Kingdom. We also find evidence that the use of employment agencies by some of these workers increases the likelihood of employment in skilled manual and non-manual occupations. Workers who have had supervisory responsibility in the United Kingdom are more likely to be in professional or intermediate occupations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-134
Number of pages31
JournalInternational Migration
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


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