Our Research

The Work Rights Centre exists to help migrants and disadvantaged Britons access employment justice and improve their social mobility. Every day, our team of multilingual advisers challenges employment rights breaches, provides employability and benefits advice, and helps people to secure their immigration status.

Another piece of the puzzle is bringing these issues to the attention of policymakers. Our data-led publications shed light on the systemic drivers of socioeconomic inequality and provide meaningful recommendations for how to address them.

Read our research reports and briefings. If you want to contact our team, use the form at the bottom of this page.

Six months on: the UK's response to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, and how the government can better protect refugees

(27 September 2022) 

Since the Russian military began its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the UK government has introduced three visa schemes for Ukrainian refugees. This report outlines the limitations of these schemes, focusing particularly on the acute risks of homelessness and poverty faced by Ukrainians in the UK. 

→ Read the report

Seasonal work after the war in Ukraine

(18 June 2022)

In this briefing we take a close look at Seasonal Worker visas, using Home Office entry clearance data for Q1 2021 – Q1 2022, and examine what the numbers mean for workers and stakeholders engaged in the fight against labour exploitation.

What do the latest immigration trends tell us about workers’ countries of origin and how might labour enforcement agencies use this intelligence to buttress their prevention and investigation work?

→ Read the report

Weed out exploitation: how to improve the reporting of labour exploitation, and protect the seasonal agricultural workers staffing Britain's farms 

(02 March 2022)

Seasonal Agricultural workers are consistently flagged for being at severe risk of labour exploitation. Drawing on a year of casework with seasonal agricultural workers recruited under the government's Seasonal Worker Pilot, this briefing examines the barriers which prevent them from reporting exploitation, and the measures needed to address them. 

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The Employer Checking Service Needs Fixing

(02 September 2021) 

The Employer Checking Service is an online service designed to help employers check the right to work for an applicant who is unable to provide them with a 'share code', either because their application is 'pending' or because of digital issues or technical difficulties. Both workers and employers desperately need a functioning process to enable them to prove and check their right to work, even when status is pending. 

This briefing reviews some of the problems with the service and how they can be fixed. 

→ Read the report

Lives on Hold

(25 August 2021)

To protect their rights, EU nationals living in the UK by 31 December 2020 had to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) by 30th of June 2021 (with some exceptions for late applications). Since then, we have heard from hundreds of people reporting delays or difficulties in proving their status.

This briefing explores the issues experienced by EU citizens since the EUSS deadline, and how the Home Office, employers, and local authorities can help.

→ Read the report

Year of Covid

(31 March 2021)

The year of Covid pushed migrant workers in the low skilled sector to the limit and prompted a real change in the issues brought to the attention of our advisers. 

This report utilises frontline case data from 01 March 2020 to 10 March 2021 to examine the challenges they faced during the Coronavirus pandemic, and to make a series of policy recommendations to protect their rights and their livelihoods. 

→ Read the report 

Contact our research team

If you'd like to learn more about our reports and methods, provide feedback, or discuss a research collaboration, we'd love to hear from you. Fill out the form below, and a member of our team will be in touch.