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Social Security and Migrant Welfare in the UK

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Social security and welfare are very necessary in which people receive help from the government through certain schemes such as through the contribution of the national insurance schemes. This essay will briefly examine what social security is and who it benefits. Secondly, will look into the migrants and their welfare rights in the UK, such as the job seeking allowance. Furthermore, this essay will look into the policies from the past and current era which have been put in place for the migrants in the UK, as well as their limitations and benefits. This will include descriptive analysis of the EU migrates and rules which are made for them to gain access into the UK benefits and welfare. There have been many polices put in place for the migrants who come from different countries for many reasons such as for employment opportunities or as a refugee. This essay will examine the policies which impact their stay in the UK and how they can be affected by it, for example the three month’s residence rule. The UK policies continue to develop which cause different effects on the migrant’s health and wellbeing such as by having to go to jobseeker to gain allowance, in which their documentations are thoroughly looked into making them feel as if they are not being honest. Lastly, this essay will contain the hostile environmental policy and how it effects migrants.

Social security and welfare are monitored support from the state which is a safety net for citizens from falling into poverty. Social security are schemes which are made to give benefit to people such as though the National Health Service (NHS), it is done by also contributing to the system such as by the national insurance contribution to the state. In return the state provides many befits to citizens including the basic state pension, additional state pension, contribution-based jobseeker allowance (JSA), bereavement benefits, maternity allowance, housing benefit, education as well as free medical care. There are other benefits which are not covered by the national insurance contribution, these include attendance allowance, disability allowance (DLA), child benefits, universal credit. Benefits provided to citizens can be universal. There are five main ones with many others, which provides why financial support is provided to citizens, the first one is poverty which aim to give people aid from poverty. Social protection is the second one, this suggests the need to people to feel secure and protected when coming across financial difficulties due to being sick or unemployed. Thirdly, to maintain economical management, this is to encourage people to seek employment to encourage labor market policies. Fourthly, this aid is provided to people in need for redistribution in which the benefits that are given to people who have insufficient incomes. Lastly solidarity, in which the financial aid provided is not looked at as ‘charity’, but instead as a procedure of give and take co-operation. This is seen as mutual contribution, as citizens have to pay taxes such as national insurance tax in order to be eligible to receive these benefits. Other benefits include mean tested benefits which are based on a test of earnings by the use of capital tests, the advantages from doing this test are that it gives main attention and help to those who need it the most (Spicker, 2020).

These types of tests are seen complicated to do and keep up and often they fail to get to those who need it the most due to different circumstance, stigma and due to the changes in the citizens wages in which the means test would be ineffective as it is needed to receive the continues reporting’s on one’s income (Age UK, 2020). The Welfare started from ‘cradle to grave’ strategy from the Beveridge Report by William Beveridge which aimed to give support system of social welfare from beginning (birth) to end (death). It’s recommended that everyone who works should contribute weekly pay to the government in exchange for benefits that would help citizens to be aided when or if they are unemployed, unwell or retired so that people will not fall into poverty (Sheila, 2002). The results of ‘grave to cradle’ from the Beveridge Report was effective and bought changes in the views of legislators and the community, regarding to the social welfare such as better and effective National Health Service (Shelila, 2002).

Migration is the movement in which people or individuals from certain country moves into another different country for residential, economical, personal or social reasons. People may have to migrate due to different factors such as by voluntary or forced migrations also known as ‘push’ and ‘pull’. The push factor is the cause which leads to force the migrant out from a country due to war, poverty, discrimination, environmental of natural disaster. Whereas the pull factor draws the migrants to a certain country to gain benefits such as jobs, freedom, studying abroad opportunities and better life overall for example better health care system (Rebecca, 2009). It is viewed that immigration can have bad effects on the employment likelihood of the UK young people due to their language barriers or not having academic studies for example collage graduate. Also, many dangerous, hourly paid including zero-day contract jobs are mainly provided and taken by migrant. These migrants include Polish, Romanians and Portuguese who are the main sets of groups that are in low skilled and low paid jobs such as cleaning and handling (Gabriella, 2017). Research also shows that EU migrants are more prone to be at the lowest end of the job market as well as having lower income. In the UK, migrants also do not claim the same entitlement to benefits as the UK citizens, to certain levels. This is due to the migrants being in employment more in comparison to UK citizen, resulting into not getting any disability and unemployment benefits (Madeleine & William, 2015). The rather different labor market locations of EU migrants and non-EU migrants in the UK are mainly caused by how their migration status is managed under The National Migration Law. There are five board groups of different types of migrants, these are asylum seekers and refugees, labor migrants, irregular migrants, students and family joiners. In these five broad groups certain sub-divisions are seen which considers the difficult official and legal frameworks. Such as smuggled or trafficked into the country immigrant, European Economic Area (EEA) citizens, these citizens are not members of the European Union (EU) but still have the same rights as the most of the UE citizens (Department for Education 2019). The Immigration Act 1971 is the base for the present legal framework. This act was made to create certain changed in the citizenship law that provided help for those who wished to come back abroad (Gov. UK). After this act there have been many different acts which have been passed by the parliament in order to continue toughen the law on immigration. The asylum and immigration appeal act (1993) made entry of the immigrants and asylum seekers. This act also reduced the social welfare rights of the people who did manage to enter into the country (Lisa 2018). Other Acts contain, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, the Asylum and Immigration Act 2004, the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 and the UK Borders Act 2007 which made new penalties for people coming to UK without documentation (UK Board Agency, 2012).

There have been many policies put in place to restrict the entry of migrants to UK who were seen as ‘unwelcomed’. This view point of migrants has been around since old times and is not recent or new. Before 1905 there was no limitations on the entry into UK other than the limitations that the ill cannot enter, this is because of the concern for the public health (Bernard, 2016). The migrants who were the no citizens of the UK were labelled as ‘aliens’. People liked to move around the world due to the free movements. Britain saw the entry of many Jews migrating from different countries such as Poland. Britain saw this as a threat to the British culture, in which the public demanded restrictions on immigrations entry. This resulted into the development of the 1905 Aliens Act. This act was the first act which focused on the restricting the entry of migrants in the UK, this act focused on safeguarding UK from the ‘undesirable’ immigrant. This act held the Jew migrants responsible for the issues relating to ill health, bad hygiene, and misconducts and overcrowding. This act was continually developed into many other acts such as the 1914 Aliens Restriction Act, the 1919 Aliens Restriction (Amendment) Act. All these acts focused on ways of restricting the entry of migrants by banning ‘aliens’ (migrants) from coming to the UK and deporting them if they were seen as a threat to Britain. The nationality of the migrants was later focused on through the development of more legislations over time 1948 British Nationality Act allowed migrants to become a British national through marriage. This act presented a new classification of ‘citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies’. If the migrant’s parents or father had fit into this category then the migrant could become a citizen of the UK. Additionally, by being a UK resident for seven years. ‘Aliens’ (migrants) could also be accepted if they were virtuous of characters and had a good understanding and knowledge of English language, the effects from this policy put a high pressure on the migrants to learn English so that they could gain the status as being UK citizens (Alyssa, 2018). More acts were put in place for migrants and asylum seekers such as the Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. This act introduced the registration cards form the asylum seekers to give them authorized ID and status that was used worldwide. Due to this act, people started trafficking documentsб which led to many more amendments to the Immigration and Asylum Act from 2004-2009. These acts were created to focus on keeping the ‘undesirable’ ‘bogus’ migrants out. The acts mainly concentrated on the documentations of the migrants to be sure they are not trafficking from their country to UK. The borders, citizenship and immigration act 2009 was very alike the 1905 act which focused on the need of the immigrant to be a good character to receive nationality. This act changed certain rules for the admittance of the migrant to gain the citizenship in the UK. The conditions were that the migrant would have to be a UK resident for eight years and have high knowledge and understanding of English (Alyssa, 2018), (Bloch, 2008).

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Citizenship is a position given to those that are full members of a community. It allows people to have various rights such as to live, to work to vote and pay taxes.

Citizenship is deeply concerned with a number of relations between individuals and the communities in which they live in, the concepts of citizenship which imply that, including rights. Citizens also carry certain responsibilities such as engaging in work. Citizenship excavates similar questions connected to inclusion and exclusion (Peter, 2016). There are three different definitions of citizenship and welfare according to Marshal (1949). Marshal was concerned with ending poverty and making sure people do not fall into poverty on social citizenship (Peter, 2016). Marshall (1994) three approaches to citizenship and welfare. Firstly, is the legal definition in which individual understand their position in the state as well as being provided rights to claim welfare which will lead to reduce poverty. The second approach is the social political, this approach argues that citizenship lays within a perspective of ‘power relationship’. Lastly, the philosophical approach which suggest that what we can expect in return from and what should be given to the state (Peter, 2016).

Immigration position and policy are the most direct conducts in which immigrant are provided or denied the rights of citizenship due to many polices put in place to make it as difficult as possible to allow them to remain in UK including many conditionality’s. Conditionality makes the access to public funds conditional, in which the individual can only receive funds if they meet these requirements. There are three types of conditionality provided by the welfare state which needs to be met by the EU migrants to be able to access the social security benefits. These are, category which sees what the category of support is needed by the individual’s, second is circumstances such as their eligibility and entitlement and last conditionality being conduct such as obligatory behavioral circumstances, for example, job search. These conditionality’s have been major in decreasing the rights and social security benefits of the EU migrants. For example, asylum seekers are not eligible for welfare benefits due to their claims being in progress in which they may be provided with lower amount of financial support, but could become eligible for the public funds if they get a refugee status (Gabriella, 2017). Another example of meeting conditionality is someone who is a mobile EU worker and their circumstances include the right to reside rules, minimum earning threshold and the Genuine Prospect of Work Test (GPoWT) in which they would have to provide and ‘compelling evidence’ that they are seeking jobs or are getting the training requirement needed for the job. They would be doing this to not get any benefits sanctioned. This is done so that it would make it harder for the migrants to receive funds without complete eligibility. Shutes (2016) argued that these conditionalities are very harsh upon the EU migrants in the UK (Lisa 2018). Policies changes in the UK from January 2014 EU nationals who claim income that is built on job seeker allowance will not be seen as habitually residents unless they have been living there for three months, in which they need to provide evidence that they are seeking jobs to be qualified for the job seekers allowance. Providing evidence and the genuine prospect of work of seeking job for full 6 months will allow the job seekers to receive the allowance. Also, from a minimum earning threshold was made in March 2014 which is used to decide if the EU national is in the genuine and effective work so that they can have the right to reside in UK by the category of a ‘worker’. From April 2014 nations who have the right to reside is determined due to their statues such as a jobseeker will not be provided with housing benefit, which can lead to poverty due to not have money to pay for the rent. Lastly, newly arrival jobseeker migrants would have to live in the country for three months to be able to claim child benefit and child tax credit as well as not having rights to claim universal credit such as income support. If someone misses their appointment for job interview or is not looking for a job will result into their benefits being sanctions, this would lead to them struggling financially and emotionally. EU migrants face more issues with the UK benefit system due to their lack of English language skills and being ill- informed information with the administrative staff. Also, the JSA allows EU migrant to receive training/courses to learn English and if they do not go then their benefits can be sanctioned (Dwyer, P.J., Scullion, L., Jones, K. and Stewart, A. 2019).

The Hostile Environmental Policy by the home office aims to make life difficult for illegal immigrants. By limiting their admittance to other parts of the public sector and housing so that it will cause them to leave the UK. The Home Office has put a lot of work into encouraging illegal immigrants to leave voluntarily. This could be due to the ‘character of conduct’. The home office has the power to dismiss migrants even if they deem to be of pure character and even if they are fully abiding the law. This policy was made by Theresa May (then home secretary). This was introduced as a new approach for immigration which targeted to make migrants life’s very difficult who do not have correct documentations and intended to force them to leave UK. This was done by not giving people their general needs such as health care in hopes of stopping migrants from coming to UK (Global Justice, 2018). However, this policy was not successful as it did not stop migrant from coming into the UK, it had made a climate of fear between people who came from different countries and it has also encouraged discrimination and racism. There is also very little evidence which shows how much it has impacted the figures of migrations in the UK (Global Justice, 2018).

The government of UK has welcomed migrant in the early 1905’s, however due to the issues surrounding the welfare provision has made it become more restrict when it comes to giving welfare benefits to the migrants. The government has created many policies which lead the migrants to make sure that they gain a job or seek a job and contribute to the society, so that they are not relying completely on the government to provide for them. This is done by the migrants having to work that would allow them to make contribution through the national insurance scheme. In this essay I have looked into what social security is and who and how it benefits individuals. This essay contains many policies that are put in place for immigration as well as what citizenship and statues is, and how it effects the welfare state. This contains descriptive analysis on the EU migrants and the issues they come across when seeking job seekers allowance. There have been many policies put in place for the migrants to restrict them from staying in UK for example the Hostile Environmental Policy in which makes it hard for the migrant to stay in UK which seeks for minor issues to remove migrants from the UK. This essay examines the policies that impact peoples stay in the UK and how they can be affected by it, for example the three month’s residence rule, right to reside and the minimum earning threshold and how they can impact the migrants who receive them.

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Social Security and Migrant Welfare in the UK. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 30, 2023, from
“Social Security and Migrant Welfare in the UK.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2022,
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Social Security and Migrant Welfare in the UK [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 25 [cited 2023 Jan 30]. Available from:
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