Working Paper

The Relationship Between Immigration Status and Rights in the UK: Exploring the Rationale

Published 1 January 2011 / By Sarah Spencer, Jason Pobjoy

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Successive UK governments have expressed a commitment to ‘equality for all’. Home Secretary Theresa May, prior to the 2010 general election, referred to equality of opportunity for ‘every single individual in this country’ and the recently enacted Equality Act 2010 has been heralded by government as providing a legislative framework ‘to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all’. Drawing on insights from academic literature, this Working Paper assesses the extent to which these claims of inclusivity ring true for migrants living in the UK. To do so, the paper maps the existing pattern of rights and restrictions for eight categories of migrants, setting out, where available, the rationales provided by government as to why a particular category of migrant has or has not been granted a particular right. The analysis is framed around four substantive rights: to healthcare, education, social housing and family life.


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