Migrant workers from the EU


One of the four fundamental freedoms of the European Union enshrined in the Treaty of Rome is the free movement of people. So all citizens of the EU, plus Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein, have in principle the right to live, work and retire in any of the member states, provided they can support themselves and their family without the help of public funds.Many thousands of young French citizens work in the UK, particularly in London. 1.5 million Britons work in other countries in the EU, and many have retired to live in Spain, France and Cyprus.

With the 2004 enlargement of the EU, where 10 new member states joined, mainly former communist countries from eastern and central Europe, the number of migrant workers arriving in the UK suddenly increased dramatically. In 2007 two more eastEuropean countries joined. For a transition period, particular conditions apply to citizens of these countries wishing to work in the UK.

Student Factsheet 2


  1. Which countries joined the EU in the 2004 enlargement?
  2. Which countries joined in 2007?
  3. Where in the UK do we find the greatest number of migrant workers from these two enlargements?
  4. Which countries do the greatest number come from?
  5. What jobs do they do?
  6. Are they a drain on public finances or are they contributing to the economy?
  7. Are there any more countries about to join the EU?

Check the facts

Class activities

What sort of problems does a migrant worker face coming to the UK?

Small Group Work

List all the problems you can think of.
Collate the responses on a flip chart and put them in order of priority.

Consult the checklist

  1. I don’t speak much English
  2. How do I get a job ?
  3. How do I open a bank account ?
  4. I need somewhere to live
  5. Where do I find a doctor or dentist ?
  6. I need a licence to drive a tractor
  7. How do I top up my mobile ?

How to make them welcome

Prepare a Welcome pack with “how to” instructions. Find information from local sources, library, Town Hall, Citizens’ Advice, bank etc.
Include simple English expressions for getting about. Check how you might do this by looking at similar material in your foreign language course

Distribute tasks to pairs across the class.

Interview a migrant worker

Check the grid of questions used in the student / worker interviews.

Set up an interview with a migrant worker

Class round up

How do they (the students) think their life might be affected by their right to study, live, work and retire to any country in the EU ?

What benefits can they see in their local community from the presence of students, families and workers from other EU countries ?

The other topics