How can the scale and nature of labour market non-compliance in the UK best be assessed? Final report of a scoping study for the Director of Labour Market Enforcement

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Ella Cockbain, Sam Scott, Krisztián Pósch and Ben Bradford

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The Director of Labour Market Enforcement (DLME) is required by law to provide an annual assessment of the ‘scale and nature of non-compliance in the labour market’ (Immigration Act 2016). Yet, labour market non-compliance is a complex and wide-reaching phenomenon and the existing evidence base is limited and fragmented. It is challenging, therefore, to appraise accurately the ‘scale’ and ‘nature’ of this issue and more underlying research is clearly needed. Against this backdrop, the DLME issued a tender for a scoping study to inform decisions about what research might most usefully be commissioned. As such, this scoping study supports the DLME’s efforts to improve the evidence base on labour market non-compliance in the UK. A stronger evidence base is vital in informing policy and practice and supporting prioritisation: one of the four key principles underpinning effective labour market enforcement (Weil, 2008).5
A multidisciplinary team of academics from University College London (UCL), University of Gloucestershire and the London School of Economics (LSE) was commissioned to conduct this scoping study. The remainder of this report is structured as follows. First, we provide a brief introductory context to labour market non-compliance and its enforcement in the UK. We then introduce the study’s aims and methods. Next, we analyse in detail each of the five approaches scoped. We present the scores for each against a standardised assessed framework, reporting both the initial (unweighted) scores and the final (weighted) scores, which were informed by stakeholder consultation. We end with our final recommendations and a brief conclusion.


Law And Legislation, Labour Market, Public Policy and Government