Social services and irregular migrants. The case of Sweden.

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Social services and irregular migrants. The case of Sweden.

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Publication Other
Title Social services and irregular migrants. The case of Sweden.
Author(s) Staaf, Annika ; Björngren Cuadra, Carin
Date 2010
English abstract
This presentation focuses on irregular migrants´ entitlement to social services in Sweden. According to the European Council (2005) it is vital to incorporate the position of irregular migrants in the principle of social inclusion based on human rights discourse. Furthermore, the Council has pointed out that issues on social rights are unclear in regard of irregular migrants and addresses them in recommendations. This unclarity is confirmed by the case of Sweden. Irregular migrants in Sweden are a heterogeneous group with the common position that they lack required permits to stay in the country. They consist of rejected asylum-seekers, those who violated the terms of visa, other “over-stayers” and persons who entered irregularly. An initial study mapping the situation in Swedish municipalities´ social services showed that the number of irregular migrants varies, but an increasing amount of encounters are taken place. The empirical study shows that such cases are processed in very different ways and concerns a variety of social problems such as housing, social allowance, family law and domestic violence. Special concern seems to be taken to children and families with children in some municipalities. Furthermore, most municipalities lack policies or guidelines. This creates a possible base for arbitrariness and weakens the legal security for the irregular migrants and consequentially leaves a considerable discretionary space to the social worker in their role as street-level bureaucrats. The Swedish Social Services Act (2001:453) is a soft law which implies appreciable need of substantialization and involves legal interpretation and application in practice. In the case of irregular migrants this process is augmented, given the unclarity of the irregular migrants´ social rights. In sum, social rights for irregular migrants stand out as a field in need of further considerations and policymaking on national as well as international level, bearing in mind human rights obligations.
Publisher IASSW, ICSW and IFSW
Host/Issue Abstract book : 10th-14th June, 2010, Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong, China
Pages 326
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) social services
irregular migrants
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::LAW/JURISPRUDENCE::Other law::International law
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Social work
Note 2010 Joint World Conference on Social Work and Social Development: The Agenda 10-14/6 2010 Hongkong, China
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