Health, social, economic & cultural impacts of Covid-19 on migrant essential workers in the UK

UKRI/ESRC-funded research project focusing on Polish essential workers in the UK.

Covid-19 has exposed the UK’s socio-economic dependence on a chronically insecure migrant essential workforce. Polish migrants constitute the most numerous non-British nationality in the UK (around 815,000 in 2020) and make up around 9% of the UK’s foreign-born population. The project focus is on Polish migrants who are overrepresented in different essential work roles and sectors across the UK.

Poles face increased uncertainty about their lives in the UK due to their precarious situation in the context of Brexit. Covid-19 is likely to amplify these concerns alongside adding new distinctive challenges.

The project involves an online survey to map Covid-19 impacts on Polish essential workers in the UK, online interviews with Polish essential workers and expert interviews with key stakeholders providing information and support to migrant workers in the UK.

The project is being carried out by researchers at the University of Glasgow, Middlesex University and the University of Sheffield with the support of the Polish Social and Cultural Association (POSK), the Polish Expats Association, Fife Migrants Forum and PKAVS Minority Communities Hub

Dr Aneta Piekut Co-Director Sheffield Migration Research Group is Co-I on the project.

Dr Aneta Piekut

Project Information

Title: Health, social, economic & cultural impacts of Covid-19 on migrant essential workers in the UK

Funder: UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) via the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Start: November 2020 – April 2022

Duration: 18 months


Twitter: @MigrEssentWork



Prof. Sharon Wright (PI; University of Glasgow)

Dr Anna Gawlewicz (University of Glasgow)

Dr Kasia Narkowicz (Middlesex University )

Dr Aneta Piekut (University of Sheffield)

Dr Paulina Trevena (University of Glasgow)