Migrants’ Access to (transnational) Social Protection and Its Consequences for Social Inequalities

Monday, 16 July 2018: 16:15
Oral Presentation
Elisabeth SCHEIBELHOFER, University of Vienna, Austria
Transnational social protection has received more attention within migration research as well as within social policy and welfare studies. Based on a comparative three-year project TRANSWEL (2015-2018, https://transwel.org/) I will discuss results from qualitative fieldwork of EU citizens moving within the EU in terms of securing their (transnational) social security and resulting social inequalities. Starting out from the assumption that social inequalities are (re-)produced in any kind of migration, the case of EU internal migration is considered specifically important in terms of citizenship within a multilevel governance of the EU. Comparing four EU country pairs (Hungary-Austria/E. Scheibelhofer, Poland-UK/E. Carmel, Bulgaria-Germany/A. Amelina, Estonia-Sweden/A. Runfors) in a mixed methods approach we analysed the implications of ‘free movement’ in terms of social inequalities. We found that educational backgrounds and employment situations per se are not as decisive for whether EU migrants access social benefits (we focused on the areas of family, unemployment, health and pension) but that patterns are more complex leading to specific kinds of stratification induced by inclusion and exclusion from (transnational) systems of social protection. Our interpretative analysis brought specifics of the country pairs to the fore. Also we see that attitudes towards welfare state provisions, self-perceptions, experiences of discrimination, and barriers resulting from multi-level regime within the EU and the nation-states are decisive for the resulting inequality experiences in respect to accessing social protection transnationally.