Management Seminars: Gabriella Alberti
Dr Gabriella Alberti (Leeds University Business School)
G.15, 15-19 Tyndall's Park Road, BRISTOL BS8 1PQ
Title: The government of migration through workfare in the UK: towards a shrinking space of mobility and social rights?
This paper focuses on migration within the European Union, exploring the gradual restriction of rights for ›free movers‹ in connection with the restructuring of welfare towards workfare policies. Based on analysis of secondary sources, case laws and qualitative interview material with migrant support organisations and legal experts, the author explores the historical intersection between welfare and migration controls in the United Kingdom to highlight the rapid erosion of social assistance and social security rights for EU migrants. The article takes this national context as a point of departure to examine wider developments in other EU countries where similar patterns of restriction, both at the judicial and policy levels, emerge under the mark of workfarist politics and the ‘activation paradigm’. The main argument is that measures applied in the context of the workfare reforms enhancing the vulnerability of the precarious workforce are experienced in exemplar ways by migrants, stigmatised as fraudulent benefit claimants and in fact compelled to provide their labour under increasingly precarious conditions. The inter-dependency between the proof of habitual residence, retention of worker status and entitlements to in-work benefits emerges as a central mechanism in the government of mobility at a critical moment in the ›undoing of Europe‹.