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Voluntary Code of Practice for employing Migrants

Migrant workers are a growing category of employees in Great Britain. They are a necessary resource for many employment sectors due to a shortage of available local labour. Evidence suggests that migrant workers can have a positive impact on local communities and be an important factor in sustaining local business diversity.

There are a number of different and distinct categories of migrant workers who have varying rights to work in Great Britain. The main categories are:

• Nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA), who have a right to travel, live and work in the UK.

• Nationals of all other countries, who require a work permit which is obtained by an employer who cannot find a suitable national to fill the post.

• Commonwealth working holidaymakers aged 17 - 30 with the UK working holiday visa, who can work for up to 12 months of their 2-year stay.

• Students from outside the EEA, who can undertake part-time work whilst enrolled on courses here (and full-time work during their vacation).

Business in the Community has devised this Code of Practice to better inform employers about how they can make migrant workers feel welcome and help them settle into their new environment. It also sets out what employers can do on a longer-term basis to help migrant workers integrate more effectively into their workplace and the community.

This Code does not impose any legal obligation nor is it an authoritative statement of the law. The intention is that the Code will help guide and reinforce best practice in relation to the employment of migrant workers. The Code is split into 7 elements.

As part of its work, the group has produced a voluntary code on employing migrants workers for employers to sign up to.

The Code has seven elements:

  • Recruitment e.g. take care that in recruiting from a country they do not create a shortage of local skills;

  • Travel and accommodation e.g. where possible, support migrant workers in finding suitable accommodation;

  • Integration into the host community e.g. seek to build a sense of belonging, social integration and acceptance of the local community, through social and sporting events;

  • Providing for the needs of those who speak little or no English, ensuring that the cultural needs of minority ethnic people are met e.g. encourage and support migrant workers to learn English as a second language;

  • Preventing and addressing racial discrimination and harassment in the workplace e.g. by promoting a culture that recognises, values, and respects diversity;

  • Affording fair treatment in the workplace. e.g. ensuring that workers are provided with a copy of, and have understood, their employment contract/terms and conditions. Provide an explanation of these in the worker’s first language where required.




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