Book Chapter

Regulating Fortress Britain: Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Applicants in the British Labour Market



Calo F, Baglioni S, Montgomery T & Biosca O (2021) Regulating Fortress Britain: Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Applicants in the British Labour Market. In: Federico V & Baglioni S (eds.) Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers’ Integration in European Labour Markets: A Comparative Approach on Legal Barriers and Enablers. IMISCOE Research Series. Cham: Springer, pp. 235-258.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide a detailed overview of the UK legal and institutional factors at the macro-level that can be regarded as decisive for explaining the effective capacity of the country to integrate migrants, refugees and asylum seekers into the labour market. By doing so, we aim to better understand the conditions within which integration policies for migrants, refugees and asylum applicants (MRA) may take place. We begin by providing an insight into the social and cultural context of migration in the UK, firstly by looking at the history of migration and the social and political instabilities of the country. Furthermore, we investigate how legislation concerning migration and asylum has developed within the UK context across the decades and analyse how legislation has been translated by UK policymakers in recent years. We then examine the current constitutional organisation of the British state, highlighting the importance of case law in developing MRA integration. Following this, we outline key legislation concerning the integration of MRA in the British labour market. The chapter then provides a critical overview of the integration strategies (or the lack thereof) promoted at the national level, outlining the institutional challenges that affect integration. We then conclude by highlighting the possible impact that Brexit will have on an already ‘hostile environment’ for migration.

Migrants; refugees; labour markets; regulation

Results presented in this volume were obtained through the research project Skills and Integration of Migrants, Refugees and Asylum applicants in European Labour Markets (Sirius). This project was funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement 770515).

FundersEuropean Commission (Horizon 2020)
Title of seriesIMISCOE Research Series
Publication date31/12/2021
Publication date online30/04/2021
Place of publicationCham
ISSN of series2364-4087

People (1)


Dr Tom Montgomery

Dr Tom Montgomery

Lecturer in Work & Organisations, Management, Work and Organisation