Impact of Migration on Employment Relations and Human Resource

Globally, migration has become a trend

Individuals frequently relocate from one country to another or from one geographical region to another for a variety of reasons (, 2006). These causes typically range from political unrest to natural disasters such as earthquakes and hunger. Some people relocate for a change of scenery, while others migrate in pursuit of greener pastures (, 2006). Migration of individuals to or from a specific region usually leaves a vacancy, which affects the economy in some way. Migration also has adverse effects on the human resource function and greatly affects the employment relations in a given economy (Harzing and Pinngton 2004, p.45). This paper will highlight the manner in which migration has impacted on the human resource and employment relations in liberal market economies such as the United Kingdom and will also highlight its impact on the coordinated market economies such as Germany (Harzing and Pinngton 2004, p.45).

The impact of immigrants on human resource and employee relations

Most often the impact of immigrants on the human resource and employee relations is dependent on the skills set that the migrants possess and the policies of the host nation towards them (Eurobarometer 2015). In the United Kingdom, for example, the impact of the migrants is minimal with regards to the average salaries of the entire population but greatly impacts on the employment opportunities that are available (Collings, Scullio and Morley 2007, p.198). The biggest losers in relation to available opportunities are the low-income earners. The human resource departments of many organizations tend to be inclined to employ migrants due to the fact that they offer relatively cheap labor (Collings, Scullio and Morle 2007, p.198). Most of the migrants either come from countries with a poor economy and the wages they earn as compared to their native countries are higher. The biggest beneficiaries are usually the middle and high-income earners since most of the migrants hardly give them any competition in the employment market (, 2006).

Impact of migrants' skills in the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the skills that the migrant possess can either foster employment relations or deteriorate them. In the event that the skills that the migrants possess tend to substitute the existing ones in the market, the migrants might lead to loss of employment towards the existing employees whereas in the event that the migrants' skills complement the existing ones, it leads to a growth in the job market and consequently creates more jobs within the country (Collings, Scullio and Morley 2007, p.199). When migrants come to the host nation, they tend to encourage investment opportunities due to their purchasing power. They create a demand for basic amenities such as housing, clothing, and food (, 2006). These, in turn, ensure that more jobs are created to meet the demand that has been created. This is in line with the lump of labor fallacy that provides that there is no fixed amount of jobs in a particular country (Harzing and Pinngton 2004, p.45). Migration of skilled workers also improves the manpower that a particular country possesses (Dicken 2002, p.4). This often enhances the human resource functions in a country and also leads to diversification of the various skill sets that a country possesses (Dicken 2002, p.4).

The impact of migration in Germany

Germany started experiencing the migration of people in the country from the 1970s and often called these migrants "guest workers" (Beyer 2016, p.6). In the 1990s, the number of these migrants had grown exponentially, and since the migrants offered relatively cheaper labor, the country cordially accommodated them (Beyer 2016,p.6). The migration of people into Germany posed major challenges to the human resource personnel. This is because most of the migrants did not know German, and there was a communication barrier between the immigrants and the employers. This prompted the government to come up with an introduction program for the migrants before they could be integrated into the market (Beyer, 2016, p.7).

Challenges faced by migrants in Germany

Migrants within Germany have relatively hard times in sourcing for employment opportunities within the country. This is usually because of the lack of adequate skills that the companies are looking out for (Beyer 2016, p.7). This lack of skill is mostly due to informal education that most of the migrants are exposed to. The other hurdle is usually regarding the language barrier, which, as stated above, makes it difficult in the communication with the employers and also fellow employees (Beyer 2016, p.8). Most of the machinery and equipment in the country are in German, and in the event that one is not conversant with the language, it becomes a daunting task operating them.

Impact on existing employment relations in Germany

Migrants to Germany hardly affect the existing employment relations between citizens unless the immigrants possess the relevant skill set that will provide competition in the existing job market (Beyer 2016, p.8). The strict legal constraints in the employment sector in Germany create fertile grounds for the rising unemployment rates within the country. It seems that the country has some protectionist tendencies that put the interests of the nationals first before those of the migrants that have either come to seek asylum or have other reasons for coming to Germany (Beyer 2016, p.9).

Critical issues for migrants in Germany

The number of immigrants who eventually get absorbed into the employment sector in the German economy tends to be subjected to close to twenty percent lower wages than their counterparts who are nationals and working in the same position. This has been a mitigation mechanism that the government has had to come up with to counter the competition for the available positions (Beyer 2016, p.9). Occupational autonomy of the migrants is usually limited since most of the employers hardly accord the migrants managerial jobs. Most of the jobs that are available to immigrants usually require very minimal skills.

Importance of language and trade unions in Germany

Language is a determining factor in the human resource function within Germany. Immigrants who are well versed in German often get better pay than immigrants who are not knowledgeable in the language (Beyer 2016, p.9). This distinction is often close to 30 percent in terms of wages that the immigrants earn. Some of the freedoms that the nationals have to form or join trade unions are sometimes limited for the migrants, and this, in turn, provides that the immigrants would not get representation. The trade unions are important in the employment relations since it provides various avenues in which the migrants could seek redress when their employment rights are violated (Beyer 2016, p.5). The unions are important in negotiating the various terms of employment within the work set up.


In conclusion, it is evident that migrants have an impact on both the coordinated and liberal market economies of the world. The policies in a given country will greatly influence the impact that the migration of people within a given country will affect it. The various countries need to uphold policies that do not limit the rights of immigrants but should foster relations between them since the immigrants foster the growth of the economy by bringing manpower and creating a demand for the existing resources.


Beyer, R. (2016). The Labor Market Performance of Immigrants in Germany. 1st ed. [pdf]

International Monetary Fund, pp.5-16. Available at: [Accessed 19 Mar. 2017].

Collings, D G, Scullio, H and Morley, M J (2007) ‘Changing patterns of global staffing in the multinational enterprise: Challenging the conventional expatriate assignment and emerging alternatives’, Journal of World Business, 42 (2): 198 – 213.

Dicken, P. (2002) Global Shift: Reshaping the Global Economic Map in the 21st Century: 4th

edition, Sage.

Eurobarometer (2015) Discrimination in the EU in 2015, available at: (2006). Migration and industrial relations | Eurofound. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Mar. 2017].

Harzing, A-W and Pinnington, A H (2014) International Human Resource Management 4th

edition, London: Sage, chapter 2, ‘Comparative Human Resource Management’, Brewster and Mayrhofer, 45 - 79.

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