Reason for this project


Construction is staffed by high levels of migrant workers, particularly in Western European countries where it is proving increasingly difficult to recruit skilled and unskilled workers from the domestic market.

Demographic changes and the sector’s image problem are challenges to the future workforce supply. The average age of workers in the construction sector is relatively high, and in the years to come a large proportion of the workforce will thus retire. It will be a major challenge to replace these retirees in the medium and long term. 


AT: 264,000 in construction*; 27 % of them are non-Austrian citizens from Ex Yougosl. and TR (order according to number) **

DE: 1,8 mio. people in construction The migrants come from TR, PL, RO, BG

ES: 1,7 mio. in construction, 21.3 % (352 900) are foreigners. Migrants come from MOR, LA, BG; PL

FR: 1,7 mio. people in construction; about 14 % (200,000) are migrants who come from PT, TR, MOR

NL: 461,000 in construction, about 6 % are migrants coming from TR, MOR, Suriname, PL

UK: 2 mio. people in construction. Migrant workers make up 6 – 10% of the workforce; in the bigger cities may rise in excess of 25%. Prior to the economic downturn in construction in 2007/2008, there were approx. 350,000 migrants in the UK construction sector (according to Constructionskills) More than 100,000 migrants have joined the UK construction industry in the last decade. (PL, LT, RO).

EU: 14,8 mio. people in construction representing 7.5 % of the total European workforce.


*Figures for 2009 for all construction sectors; source: FIEC; figures of migrants: estimates of ministries, EU construction industry; ** Vacation & Severance Pay Fund of the Construction Workers.


Experts estimate that in countries like AT, DE, FR, ES migrant workers represent about 50 % of the whole workforce on construction sites. In some fields of construction activities, their proportion amounts to 80 – 90 %. These figures contrast with the official data according to which migrants are automatically considered as nationals when they have the citizenship of the host country. 


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