Portability, Access and Reciprocity:
Social Protection Regimes for Migrants
While social protection as an agenda primarily for reducing
vulnerability and risk of low-income households with regard to basic
consumption and services has become an important part of the development
discourse at both national and international levels, there is little
literature linking migration to social protection frameworks or
policies. Social protection concerns can emerge at all stages of
a migration process as different vulnerabilities characterise the
‘deciding migrant’, the ‘mobile migrant’,
the ‘arrived migrant’, the 'returned migrant' and the
migrant’s family that may remain at home. However, except
for a few studies, this linkages has remained largely unexplained.
While the need to manage risk and secure livelihoods can be the
main driver of migration decisions, at the same time a derived demand
for various forms of social protection, state and non-state, may
arise from the migration process. Furthermore, migration itself
can provide a form of social protection.
The main aim of this research is to better
understand the interactions between migration (internal and international)
and social protection in order to inform initiatives that can create
‘mobile’ systems of social protection, and to find ways
for enabling social protection entitlements to follow the migrant
rather than being linked to employment category or place of residence.
Recognising migrants’ rights and aiding them in overcoming
vulnerabilities associated with the migration process will have
positive impacts on growth in host and source countries and will
go a long way to reducing poverty.
Key Research Questions
||What are the effects of the absence of the
migrant, for example on food security, physical security, How
is access to social protection for migrants differentiated by
work status and gender?
||How does migrant knowledge about vulnerabilities
and social protection influence migration decisions and thus
labour market patterns?
||How do we understand systems of reciprocity
for social protection, especially for those migrants who are
unable to access formal systems?
||What role can different actors (government,
donor, enterprise, civil society, migrant networks) play in
supporting and developing a more integrated social protection
strategy for migrants?
||In order to investigate the questions
driving this proposal we will conduct a comprehensive
programme of work focusing on Ghanaian migrants, both
international and national.
Ghana is characterised by substantial international and
internal migration flows. We intend to carry out our research
in multiple sites in order to address the interactions
between different types of flow, destination, bilateral
and multilateral policies and household strategies --
looking at Ghanaian migrants in the UK, in an ECOWAS country
(Nigeria) and internal Ghanain migrants (link with project
A variety of methods will be used to approach this research
and different methods will be used for the different sites.
Since the World Bank will be conducting case studies of
formal pensions and health arrangements for migrants,
we will not be spending time investigating this aspect
of social protection for international migrants. Methods
for research will include literature reviews, key informant
interviews and surveys at each location.