Immigrants and poverty, and conditionality of immigrants’ social rights

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Series Details Volume 28, Number 5, Pages 452-470
Publication Date December 2018
ISSN 0958-9287 (print) | 1461-7269 (online)
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It is not only immigration and the incorporation of immigrants into society that serve as challenges for post-industrialised countries, but also rising inequality and poverty. This article focuses on both issues and proposes a new theoretical perspective on the determinants of immigrant poverty.

Building on comparative welfare state research and international migration literature, the author argues that immigrants’ social rights – here understood as their access to paid employment and welfare benefits – condition the impact which both the labour market and welfare system have on immigrants’ poverty.

The empirical analysis is based on a newly collected dataset on immigrants’ social rights in 19 advanced industrialised countries. The findings confirm the hypotheses: more regulated minimum wage setting institutions and generous traditional family programmes reduce immigrants’ poverty more strongly in countries where they are granted easier access to paid employment and social benefits.

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