Policy briefing: Eastern European migrant workers and housing

By: Elizabeth O'Hara  Published: June 2008


In May 2004, the European Union expanded to include ten new countries from Eastern Europe, and a further two countries joined the EU in 2007. The arrival of several hundred thousand migrant workers from the newly enlarged EU has intensified the public debate as to whether an open borders policy has positive outcomes, or whether it results in scarce resources being spread ever more thinly, to the detriment of existing resident households. There is a perception among some that these migrant workers jump the housing queue, and are given unfair access to social housing. However, evidence shows that migrant workers from Eastern Europe have scarcely gained access to social housing at all.

This briefing outlines the background to the most recent trend in migration to the UK, considers the housing conditions for these migrant workers, and puts forward options for reform.   


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