In the late 1980s and early 1990s, De Swaan, a historical sociologist, speculated that heightened global interconnectedness, and the resulting increased potential for international migration, would lead to transnational social policies. In this view, states of richer countries would increasingly perceive an interest in financing social policies in poorer countries in an effort to reduce the need for the distant poor to migrate. By and large, such transnational social policies have not materialised. In this article, which focuses on ‘the Dutch case’, it is argued that international migration, and the desire by states to selectively limit international migration, is nonetheless leading to new forms of poor relief and poverty control, not in countries of origin but in countries of destination. In the shadow of the Western welfare states, we now find elementary and, in many cases, rather archaic practices of poor relief and anti-pauperism measures for certain categories of unauthorised immigrants. Scholarship on migration and citizenship indicates that the rights of immigrants increasingly resemble the rights of citizens, especially in comprehensive welfare states. This trend seems to be complemented, however, by a growing differentiation of social citizenship between those formally admitted (both citizens and residence permit holders) and those officially considered ‘illegal’ non-members.

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Journal of European Social Policy
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Leerkes, A. (2016). Back to the poorhouse? Social protection and social control of unauthorised immigrants in the shadow of the welfare state. Journal of European Social Policy, 26(2), 140–154. doi:10.1177/0958928716637139