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Research aim

The objective of this research project is to provide insight into how public and private actors perceived the health risks for labour migrants, the measures the actors have taken to mitigate the risks for labour migrants and the effects of these measures on this vulnerable group.

The project group will develop policy advice aimed at improving the working and housing conditions of migrants and thus limiting the health risks migrants run in close collaboration with research partner De Burcht. The target group of this research are EU-migrants and irregular migrants.

By doing so the team will explore

  1. possible policy innovations for the regulation of labor migration in crisis situations
  2. social innovations to make migrants more informed and safer to work and
  3. technological innovations that make essential sectors less dependent on vulnerable labor migrants.

Clusters of research questions

  1. Functioning of existing regulations and COVID-19 measures with regard to the assignment of labour migrants in crucial sectors
  2. Impact of the global health crisis and measures against it on labour migrants in crucial sectors
  3. Impact of the global health crisis and measures against it on employers in crucial sectors


  • Document analysis
  • 60 semi-structured interviews with public and private actors
  • Survey with 200 European labour migrants
  • 40 in-depth interviews with European labour migrants and irregular (undocumented) labour migrants
  • Survey with at least 90 employers
  • Close collaboration with partners from the field: expert meetings and sounding board meetings

Partner Project - Work migration between borders

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed to which extent work migrants’ labor enables and maintains central fields of economy and society. In contrast to this, their work and life conditions are frequently highly precarious. This cooperation project researches conditions of work migration on both sides of the border in the Euregio region of Rhine-Waal in Germany and The Netherlands in which many work migrants from East-European countries in the European Union live and work.