Conditional Benefits and Barriers: Migrants' Experiences of Sanction and Support within the UK

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 16:15
Location: Hörsaal 11 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Peter DWYER, University of York, United Kingdom
Katy JONES, University of Salford, United Kingdom
Lisa SCULLION, University of Salford, United Kingdom
Alasdair B R STEWART, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom
International evidence exists to suggest that migrants face particular issues and barriers in relation to their interactions with social security benefit systems and work activation programs. This paper initially highlights the common barriers faced by many migrants in the UK when accessing out of work benefits and meeting job search requirements. For example, misunderstandings due to a lack of available interpretation and translation services and/or discriminatory practices from Work Programme and Jobcentre plus advisers. The paper then considers the extent to which the support available to migrants mitigates such barriers when accessing benefit rights and meeting the behavioural conditionality associated with unemployment benefits. Finally the paper explores how issues of social-legal status may interact with these concerns to differentially disadvantage individual migrants’ opportunities to access support and / or enter the paid labour market. The paper draws directly on an analysis of new data generated in two waves of qualitative longitudinal interviews with 47 migrants (i.e. 30 European Economic Area migrants and 17 Third Country Nationals with various humanitarian protection statuses) in six cities in Scotland and England. These migrant respondents are one cohort within a larger, repeat qualitative longitudinal  panel study being conducted as part of a the five year ESRC funded ‘Welfare Conditionality: Sanctions Support and Behaviour Change’ project (see www.welfarecondtionality.ac.uk)