Rue Royale 45, 1st floor, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

CLR Report

CLR Study 5 - Shifting Employment: Undeclared labour in construction


Authors: Jan Cremers, Jörn Janssen

This study is the result of preparatory European research and national investigations on ‘undeclared labour’ in 10 European Union Member States. The main objective of the research is to analyse the variety of forms subsumed under ‘undeclared labour’ in the construction industry, to assess current measures to prevent and combat undeclared labour, and to make recommendations on the basis of best practices.
In all countries the shares of undeclared labour output and employment appear to be much higher in construction than their averages in the gross domestic product and overall employment. From the evidence of the reports the authors conclude that:

            • the highest incidence of undeclared labour relates to work carried out by workers in addition to their regular job;
  • the status of self-employment is abused, with bogus practices by national citizens as well as foreign ‘independent’ workers entering the market through labour-only subcontracting;
  • dubious agencies and labour traffickers supplying cheap illegal labour mainly from abroad have returned. “Illegals never complain and work hard” and only little “persuasion” is needed because of their illegal status.

This publication includes desktop research, a summary of the findings with conclusions, and the experts’ 10 country reports.