A burden to the welfare state? Expectations of non-EU migrants on welfare support

Author (Person) ,
Series Title
Series Details Volume 28, Number 5, Pages 501-516
Publication Date December 2018
ISSN 0958-9287 (print) | 1461-7269 (online)
Content Type


In recent decades European institutions have been promoting the broadening of immigrants’ social rights, while at national levels political battles have been led around the definition of the legitimate community of welfare receivers. Immigrants have been often depicted as undeserving individuals threatening welfare state sustainability, although existing research does not fully support this view. At the same time, political and academic debates on immigrants and welfare have diverted attention away from immigrants themselves, failing to address their experiences and welfare support expectations.

This article aims to contribute to filling this gap by addressing to what extent non-European immigrants expect the Italian welfare state to provide support for their family. The empirical evidence builds on a survey administered, between 2014 and 2015, to about 350 immigrants from Maghreb, China and the Philippines residing in the Emilia-Romagna region.

By means of a mixed-method comprising qualitative and quantitative analyses, the article shows that only a minority of respondents, particularly Maghrebis, have some expectations in terms of public welfare support. It suggests that such support is almost exclusively expected to cope with the needs of the young-family generation, while the needs of the elderly members are assumed to be met through relatives’ informal support.

Moreover, the article highlights marked differences in expectations across specific groups and points to explicatory variables such as country of origin, gender, educational level, age on arrival and length of stay. It further reflects on immigrants’ degree of knowledge of the welfare state functioning and specifies the rationales, based on perceived rights or meritocratic criteria, explaining expectations for support.

Source Link https://doi.org/10.1177/0958928717754293
Subject Categories
Subject Tags ,
Countries / Regions