International Labour Migration to Europe’s Rural Regions

New book, just published and available open access:

The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the vulnerabilities of Europe’s food system and its strong dependency on hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who travel into and across Europe to work in the fields and food processing industries to ensure the provision of our basic needs

The pandemic has also unveiled the exploitative work conditions many of these migrants face and the price they pay to maintain the safe production of food for Europe’s population. Conditions include poor wage and working conditions, insecure employment, and sub-standard housing arrangements. Many face a challenging way of life, constantly on the move between home country and workplaces, separated from their families, and socially excluded abroad. 

In the newly launched book International labour migration to Europe’s rural regions the lives of migrants are portrayed in rich and complex detail to give new insights into our food system and how those sowing, nursing and harvesting the food on our tables experience their work in the fields and food factories, as well their relationships to the rural communities in which they live and work. 

The book provides renewed analyses of diverse aspects of the labour migration phenomenon, including how the use of migrants is perceived by employers, policy makers and the general public – and thus, how the increasing reliance on migrant workers has the potential to transform both rural industries and communities. 

Combined, the book’s 25 authors cover a vast range of Europe’s rural regions and diverse types of rural labour in areas such as horticulture, shepherding, wild berry picking, and fish processing. These are insights that will be more important than ever as Europe strives to get back to the  ‘new normal’ after the Covid- 19 pandemic. The volume will be of interest to policy makers at local, regional, national and European levels, and scholars and students in a broad range of areas, including  migration, labour markets, and rural studies. 

The volume is published Open Access by Routledge and can be accessed here:

For further information, contact book editors Johan Fredrik Rye (, + 47 99 27 30 88) and Karen O’Reilly (, + 44 77 38 28 38 91), or authors of separate chapters. 

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