Equality for whom?

2010 – 2011
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This project explored the tension between universal human rights, in particular equality and non-discrimination, and the restrictions regularly imposed on migrants’ access to public services and to family reunion, taking the UK as its case study.

The Equality Act 2010 was heralded by government as providing a legislative framework ‘to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all’. The project highlighted the contrasting reality of restrictions attached to the conditions of stay of eight categories of migrant on access to healthcare, education, social housing and family life, revealing a complex pattern of entitlements and restrictions, before exploring the rationales given by governments for those restrictions where any rationale had been provided. A core theme that emerges is that the context for each decision on the allocation or denial of a right is conflicting policy objectives.

Principal Investigator

Sarah Spencer


Jason Pobjoy (University of Cambridge)


Economic and Social Research Council (COMPAS core funding)