‘Will the Irish continue to be the UK’s reserve army of labour?’


Prof Louise Ryan’s article in the latest publication of Network (BSA) considers that while many who voted for Brexit may have wished to see an end to all immigration, the new points-based system, announced by Priti Patel in February, is all about attracting the ‘right kind’ of immigrants. While ending EU freedom of movement and treating “EU and non-EU equally”, the system will ensure: “that the UK continues to attract the brightest and the best from around the world”.

Given these immigration restrictions and employers’ concerns about recruiting workers to fill specific vacancies, it is interesting to consider whether the old ‘reserve army of labour’ – the Irish – may prove to be an important source of migrant workers in the British economy.

Key themes explored in Network relate to a recent article published (open access) in the journal of Ethnic & Racial Studies, by Louise and her co-author Prof Mary Hickman:

The “Irish question”: marginalizations at the nexus of sociology of migration and ethnic and racial studies in Britain, Volume 43 Issue 16