Social Protection and Migration: Portability and Access, Dr Rachel Sabates-Wheeler


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Dr Rachel Sabates-Wheeler, of the Institute of Development Studies, discusses the needs of migrants and the difficulties they face when they try to access social protection.

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  • Entitlements/rights are only as useful as the access structures surrounding them
  • Social Protection and Migration: Portability and Access, Dr Rachel Sabates-Wheeler

    1. 1. Social Protection and Migration:Portability and Access<br />Dr Rachel Sabates-Wheeler<br />Centre for Social Protection<br />Institute of Development Studies<br />Migration and the Right to Health<br />University of London, 26-27 May, 2010<br />
    2. 2. Social Protection<br />Helping people manage vulnerability and risk<br />Better risk management risk taking<br />Risk taking investment and growth<br />Migration possibly the most important risk management strategy available …but:<br />Double/triple disadvantage of migration<br />Migration creates needs for social protection<br />Migration reduces access to social protection<br />Migration reduces ability to demand social protection<br />
    3. 3. 3<br />Theorising migrant disadvantage<br />
    4. 4. Social Protection and Migration<br />Portability of social security entitlements<br />Ability to preserve vested social security entitlements independent of nationality and country of residence<br />Access to assistance, insurance and social services<br />In host country, for migrants and their families<br />In home country, for returning migrants and families left behind<br />What services (public, private, occupational): social security, safety nets, healthcare, education, housing;<br />Labor markets for international migrants:<br />Recruitment process in home country<br />Relation b/w immigration policy and LM in host countries <br />Informal systems of social protection<br />Migrants typically self-insure through networks, remittances, savings and investments<br />
    5. 5. Portability<br />Majority of migrants face obstacles with regard to portability of benefits, in particular migrants from developing countries<br />Healthcare<br />Only few cases of portable healthcare<br />Only between similar, insurance-type systems<br />Financial burden for developing countries<br />No fair cost sharing agreements, not even within EU<br />Only about 25% of all migrants are covered, majority in EU (82%)<br />
    6. 6. Only 24.3% of all migrants worldwide covered, but very few migrants from low income countries<br />
    7. 7. EU migrants are by far the best covered migrants<br />
    8. 8. 8<br />Access to social protection<br />Two types of investigation into migration and SP:<br />Legal frameworks and rights<br />Actual access to resources<br />Migrants often do not receive SP even if they are entitled to it<br />We cannot fully understand the portability of SP without analysing<br />Whether migrants actually receive benefits<br />What about the design of the distribution system excludes them<br />What migrants can do to negotiate improved access<br />
    9. 9. 9<br />Eligibility – physical and political<br />Administrative boundaries define different access structures<br />Eligibility criteria<br />Requirements to prove eligibility<br />Mechanisms for distribution <br />Contradictions between human rights, labour rights and migrant rights<br />Portability issues exist wherever individuals cross administrative boundaries<br />Regional/National/Sub-national<br />
    10. 10. How do migrants self-insure?<br />Majority of labour migrants are seeking higher income for improving life back home<br />The majority are circular, seasonal and typically wish to return<br />Informal networks and associations<br />Length of stay – and distance from home<br />Migration as SP:<br />Remittances and savings and asset accumulation<br />Not interested in contributing to pensions – due to poverty…interested in asset accumulation back home, healthcare and education for children<br />
    11. 11. 11<br />Key knowledge gaps<br />Increasing knowledge on legal frameworks and portability mechanisms<br />Understanding actual access and negotiations to improve access by migrants is less well developed<br />Part of broader research agenda on migrants’ adverse incorporation to and exclusion from social provisioning from<br />Markets<br />Informal networks and charity<br />Employers <br />Formal organisations<br />
    12. 12. 12<br />Next steps<br />Research that focuses on migrants’ actual access and voice around it in…<br />A range of access situations between<br />Different types of SP (market, informal, employer, formal)<br />Different types of migration (internal, international, regional)<br />Policymaking that pays close attention to the structures that distribute social provisioning to migrants<br />Sabates-Wheeler and Feldman, (eds.), (forthcoming), Social Protection and Migration: claiming social rights beyond borders, Palgrave-Macmillan<br />