In 2004 the International Organization for Migration organised a campaign on changes in labour conditions in the EU in general and in the UK due to Hungary’s accession to the EU. IOM commissioned ICCR to conduct research on the knowledge and opinion of the target population about migrant-worker specific issues in the EU and in the UK before the campaign in order to measure the effectiveness of the campaign.
Eight expert interviews were conducted, to obtain information on the opinions of heads of a Labour Centre, family support centre, au-pair agency, different work agencies and other labour- or migrant-specific organizations. Beyond obtaining information on the interviewed experts’ knowledge in this area, the interviews aimed to map their opinions on potential migrants’ knowledge as well. The main questions of the interviews were: information the transition periods of free movement of labour, with a special focus to UK’s case after the EU accession, preferred destinations of the future migration, winners and losers of the EU accession among migrant workers, possibilities and changes in migrant labour due to the accession, information sources on migration and labour issues.
ICCR conducted focus group discussions in order to map the knowledge of potential migrant workers. 74 persons participated in the discussions held among groups which have been identified by previous research as ones that have a high migrant potential. These focus groups where the following: au-pair candidates, university students with the intention to improve their language skills, travel, and find employment to cover their costs, Potential seasonal workers, Graduates from education institutions in the health sector, long-term unemployed, youth at risk. The main points of the discussions were: opinion on the EU accession in general, knowledge of the employment opportunities and labour market regulations of the EU in general and in the UK, personal employment plans and experiences in the EU in general and in the UK, opinions on the employment plans of Hungarians in the EU and the UK, favourite destination countries of Hungarians, sources of information on employment opportunities.
Main findings of the research:
- most of the experts are relatively well informed about the approaching EU accession generally, but they did not have a precise knowledge on the labour market regulation of the UK,
- half of the experts had precise knowledge about the actual primary target countries of Hungarian migrant workers,
- the experts opined that Hungarian professionals are considered to perform better than their colleagues coming from other Eastern-European or Western-European countries
- information concerning the legislation on free movement of workers varied to a large extent between the focus groups,
- the focus groups’ opinion on the migration potential of Hungarians was in line with results of empirical research,
- the primary information source was the Internet for both the focus groups and the experts, followed by undefined EU offices and personal networks.