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Want to stay on the right side of the law? We support businesses and public authorities and help them to promote good practice.

Migrant workers

What you need to know

Recruiting migrant workers

The general rule is that when recruiting staff you should treat migrant workers in the same way as you treat local people who apply to work for you.  For more information on this, please see the 'Hiring new staff' section of our website.

Immigration rules

You must comply with immigration laws. It is unlawful for an employer to employ a person who is subject to immigration control, unless that person has current and valid permission to be in the United Kingdom, and has valid permission to do the type of work on offer.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) is the public authority responsible for enforcing the immigration laws and is the best source of information and guidance about them. This information and guidance may be downloaded from the UKBA website


Equal Treatment for agency workers

In 2011 new legislation was introduced providing equal basic working and employment conditions for agency workers. These new rights are of particular importance to migrant workers.


The Equality Commission carried out a formal investigation into the role of the recruitment sector in the employment of migrant workers. More than half of the migrant workers spoken to used agencies to find work and many of the issues raised by these workers were linked to the nature of temporary agency work. Inequalities in terms and conditions and rates of pay between agency workers and employees were evident.

The Role of the Recruitment Sector in the Employment of Migrant Workers:

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