Caroline Oliver, Senior Researcher, COMPAS, University of Oxford

Family migration, social rights and impacts on integration in the United Kingdom

In times of austerity the dynamic increase in population mobilities across Europe has been associated with unprecedented pressure on scarce public services and welfare resources. In response, there have been increasing restrictions on access to public services and welfare assistance for some migrants, particularly third country nationals (TCNs). This presentation explores changes to the admission conditions for TCN family migrants joining a spouse, partner, or other family member/s in the United Kingdom, investigating the way in which social policies limiting entitlement to public services and welfare support affect integration outcomes of family migrants. It draws on the findings of IMPACIM, a cross-national research project which considers the scope, nature and extent of restrictions and entitlements in law on access to public services, welfare, jobs, education and civic participation for family migrants, across four EU member states – the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain ( The presentation considers the findings from the UK research (although with some comparative reflection) outlining the pattern of restrictions across a variety of public services, before considering evidence of the impacts of such provisions (and of how they are implemented) on family migrants’ integration within the UK. Using evidence from the study, the presentation will debate the potential tensions that exist between contradictory policy aims of restricting access to benefits and services on one hand, and the goal of fostering integration on the other.

Find out more about the Migration cluster at the Department of Social Anthropology.

All seminars in the series.