International migration and recession

Allan Findlay, Alistair Geddes, David McCollum

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    26 Citations (Scopus)


    The relationship between international labour migration and business cycles is poorly understood. This article uses Worker Registration Scheme data to examine differences in the use of migrant labour in Scotland following the onset of recession and argues that it has changed in spatially and sectorally uneven ways which reflect two distinct migrant labour functions - as 'substitutional' relative to the domestic workforce and as 'complementary' relative to labour filling roles not taken up by the national workforce. In the former case the demand for migrant labour is highly sensitive to economic cycles. This is not so in the latter case as employers in some sectors find it difficult to source domestic labour. The conceptual advance that the article seeks to make lies in its identification of the mechanisms accounting for the geographical distinctiveness of 'complementary' migrant labour flows over the business cycle.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)299-320
    Number of pages22
    JournalScottish Geographical Journal
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • Business cycle
    • international migration
    • recession
    • A8 migration
    • Scotland


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