Migrant Workers

 

This section is for people coming to work in the UK from within and beyond the European Union. It gives information about your legal rights while you work here.

Further Information

Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate

If you work for an agency that is treating you badly and you think it might be breaking the law you can report it to the government office that regulates agencies via the Acas Helpline: 0300 123 1100.

National Minimum Wage

National Minimum Wage enforcement is carried out by the National Minimum Wage enforcement team at HMRC (PDF). The Acas helpline (0300 123 1100) can make a referral to HMRC on your behalf. National Minimum Wage enforcement officers have powers to recover wage arrears and to fine employers that don't pay up.

Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC)

Some agencies (usually the better ones) are members of the REC, which sets standards for its members. If your agency has a REC symbol in its offices or on paperwork, you can complain to the REC if you think it is breaking employment law. Anonymous complaints are not accepted.

The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA)

The GLAA operates a licensing and regulation system for agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering and associated packaging and processing. The GLAA’s remit is shortly to be extended to cover all sectors. The GLAA runs an online public register of licensed providers. There is information about how to report abuse on the GLAA website.

Anti-slavery Commissioner

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 created a new role in the UK – the independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner – aimed at tackling the serious crime of slavery, including servitude, and forced or compulsory labour and human trafficking.

Reports can be made to the Modern Slavery helpline website or by calling the helpline: 0800 0121 700. There is more government advice on how to report slavery.

Health and safety

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the official agency that enforces health and safety law. It produces a wide range of free leaflets dealing with specific hazards, as well as information on how to protect vulnerable groups such as homeworkers or pregnant women. To access guidance or register a concern, visit the HSE website. The HSE publishes its core leaflets online in 18 different languages.

The HSE does not enforce all health and safety laws. In many sectors, the correct enforcement body is your local authority. Check the list published by the HSE to find the correct regulator where you work.

Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS)

The EASS helpline provides advice and support on concerns about discrimination, harassment and breach of human rights. The helpline number is 0808 800 0082, or you can ask for advice by email, following the link on the website.

EU nationals

The EU's Help and advice for EU nationals and their family website provides information (in all European languages) on living and working around Europe.

Following the vote to leave the European Union, many EU nationals are concerned about their future. The TUC, along with the British Chamber of Commerce, has called on Prime Minister Theresa May to show leadership and end the uncertainty for workers and businesses, by confirming that the government will give current EU migrants a right to remain after Brexit.

Following the vote, and the reported rise in hate crime and racist abuse, the TUC has produced a new TUC guide to protecting Black and Minority Ethnic workers from violence, harassment and abuse (PDF), both from managers and co-workers and from third parties, such as patients and customers.

Working in the UK

The TUC guide to Working in the UK provides information every worker should know about their rights, such as minimum wage levels, rest breaks and how employment status affects your rights. It is available in 13 languages including Bulgarian, Polish, Romanian, Portuguese and Italian.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.