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Keynes Fund


Summary of Project Plan

This project is particularly interested in the economic and social impacts of low skilled labour migration to the UK (both pre and post Brexit).

The aims of this project are to examine these impacts in the context of two distinct areas (i) low skilled labour migration to already economically deprived areas and, (ii) labour migration into low paid/ low skilled work specifically in the context of enforcement of labour rights. Finally, we would like to analyse the ending of EU free movement to the UK (2020) and examine the impact this has had on local key industries in the East of England- in particular food processing factories and in farms. Our research aims to analyse the impact low skilled migration has had on one already particularly deprived town- Great Yarmouth on the Norfolk coast, and develop a local case study of this town.

The project aims to help us understand the everyday (work) experiences of low paid/low skilled migrant workers. This group are essential to the economy in the UK and many sectors are reliant on their work. Despite this, very little is understood about the experiences of this group in the everyday, less so for those who do not speak English. With this funding we aim to develop a ‘case study snapshot’ of (low paid) migrant worker experiences to develop our understanding of these real-world problems and hope to be able to learn from and share insights which might help shape policy and labour enforcement mechanisms in the future.

Although this will be short-term funding, we aim to develop a case study example of Great Yarmouth- cataloguing the employment issues (economic and social) of our research participants as well as the perceptions of the wider local community in Great Yarmouth. This snapshot will be a standalone output; however, the data will also be used as a foundational platform to lead into our next ESRC grant, starting February 2023 (possibly earlier).



Prof. Catherine Barnard


Catherine Barnard is Professor of European & Employment Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge, and Deputy Director, UK in a Changing Europe. Her research interests are in European Union law, labour and discrimination law; competition law.


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