Skip to main content

Mobile Populations in Immobile Welfare Systems: A Typology of Institutions Providing Social Welfare and Protection Within a Mobility Framework

Abstract

The economic benefits of migration for developing countries through remittance-sending practices have been extensively researched on the migration-development nexus. Remittances are used not only for productive investments, but also to ensure social protection for migrants and their families, locally and transnationally, through complex formal and informal provisions. This is necessary because migrant-sending countries often have limited formal social protection institutions, whereas formal institutions in receiving countries are based on sedentary models, excluding many migrants. By reviewing literature on social protection and migration from a transnational lens and providing examples mainly from a labour migration context from the global-south towards the global-north, we offer a comprehensive typology of institutions providing social protection to migrants and their families back home. The paper advances an emerging semi-formal social protection system, which combines informal elements migrants known from their origin countries, with private insurance schemes. This analysis contributes to re-thinking the development of an inclusive global social protection system for mobile populations.

Les avantages économiques de la migration pour les pays en voie de développement, par le biais d’envois de fonds, ont fait l’objet de recherches approfondies sur le lien entre la migration et le développement. Les envois de fonds sont utilisés pour des investissements productifs, mais aussi pour garantir la protection sociale des migrants et leurs familles, aux niveaux locaux et transnationaux, à travers des dispositions complexes, formelles et informelles. Cela est nécessaire parce que les pays d’où viennent les migrants ont souvent peu d’institutions officielles de protection sociale, tandis que les institutions officielles dans les pays d’accueil sont fondées sur des modèles sédentaires, excluant de nombreux migrants. En passant en revue la littérature sur la protection sociale et la migration à partir d’un point de vue transnational, et en fournissant des exemples provenant principalement du contexte de la migration de main-d’œuvre des pays du Sud vers les pays du Nord global, nous offrons une typologie complète des institutions fournissant la protection sociale aux migrants et à leurs familles. Ce document met en avant un système émergent de protection sociale, semi-officiel, qui associe les éléments informels que les migrants connaissent déjà dans leurs pays d’origine avec des régimes d’assurance privés. Cette analyse contribue à repenser le développement d’un système globale et inclusif de protection sociale pour les populations mobiles.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. AFFORD (2000) Globalisation and Development: A Diaspora Dimension. London: AFFORD.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Agrawal, R. and Horowitz, A.W. (2002) Are international remittances altruism or insurance? Evidence from Guyana using multiple-migrant households. World Development 30(11): 2033–2044.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Amuedo-Dorantes, C. and Pozo, S. (2006) Remittances as insurance: Evidence from Mexican immigrants. Journal of Population Economics 19(2): 227–254. doi:10.1007/s00148-006-0079-6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Asian Development Bank (2010) Grant Assistance Report Proposed Grant Assistance Regional: Social Protection of the Vulnerable in the Pacific (Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, and Tonga).

  5. Avato, J., Koettl, J. and Sabates-Wheeler, R. (2009) Definitions, Good Practices, and Global Estimates on the Status of Social Protection for International Migrants (No. 0909). SP Discussion Paper.

  6. Avato, J., Koettl, J. and Sabates-Wheeler, R. (2010) Social security regimes, global estimates, and good practices: The status of social protection for international migrants. World Development 38(4): 455–466. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2009.10.003.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Azam, J.-P. and Gubert, F. (2006) Migrants’ remittances and the household in Africa: A review of evidence. Journal of African Economies 15(Supplement 2): 426–462. doi:10.1093/jae/ejl030.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Bähre, E. (2007) Money and Violence. Financial Self-Help Groups in a South African Township. Leiden: Brill.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  9. Baldassar, L., Baldock, C.V. and Wilding, R. (2007) Families Caring Across Borders. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  10. Basch, L., Glick Schiller, N. and Szanton Blanc, C. (2005) Europe: Employment, welfare and politics. In: G. Baumann (ed.) Nations Unbound: Transnational Projects, Postcolonial Predicaments, and Deterritorialized Nation-States. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Bhattamishra, R. and Barrett, C.B. (2008) Community-Based Risk Management Arrangements. New York: Cornell University.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Bilecen, B. and Barglowski, K. (2015) On the assemblages of informal and formal transnational social protection. Population, Space and Place 21(3): 203–214. doi:10.1002/psp.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Boccagni, P. (2015) Burden, blessing or both? On the mixed role of transnational ties in migrant informal social support. International Sociology 30(3): 250–268. doi:10.1177/0268580915570508.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Bouman, J.A. (1994) ROSCA and ASCRA: Beyond the financial landscape. In: J.A. Frits (ed.) Financial Landscapes Reconstructed. The Fine Art of Mapping Development. Boulder: Westview.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Brown, R.P.C., Connell, J. and Jimenez-soto, E.V. (2014) Migrants’ remittances, poverty and social protection in the South Pacific: Fiji and Tonga. Population, Space and Place 20: 434–454. doi:10.1002/psp.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Castles, S. and Delgado-Wise, R. (eds.) (2007) Migration Development: Perspectives from the South. Geneva: International Organization for Migration.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Davies, M., Commander, S. and Zaman, C. (2011) Social Protection in EU Development Cooperation. Report on the Key Results of the Consultations with Stakeholders.

  18. de Haas, H. (2007) Migration and Development: A Theoretical Perspective (No. 29, 2007). Bielefeld. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1747-7379.2009.00804.x/full.

  19. Devereux, S. and Getu, M. (2013) Informal and Formal Social Protection Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. Kampala: Fountain Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Devereux, S., Roelen, K., Ulrichs, M. and Martina, U. (2015) Where Next for Social Protection? London. http://opendocs.ids.ac.uk/opendocs/bitstream/handle/123456789/5945/ER124_WhereNextforSocialProtection.pdf?sequence=5.

  21. DRCMGP (2008) Social protection of migrants from the global south: Protection gaps and strategies to “self-insure”. Briefing Nr 14, Development Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty. http://www.migrationdrc.org/publications/briefing_papers/BP14.pdf.

  22. Faist, T., Amelina, A., Bilecen, B. and Barglowski, K. (2012) Ties That Protect? The Significance of Transnationality for the Distribution of Informal Social Protection in Migrant Networks (No. 6).

  23. Faist, T., Barglowski, K., Bilicen, B. and Sienkiewicz, J.J. (2014) Transnational social protection: Migrants’ strategies and patterns of inequalities. Population, Space and Place. doi:10.1002/psp.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Fokas, E. (2013) Welfare as a missing link in immigrant integration? Insights from a Greek case. In: D. Bozhilova, E. Vraniali, E. Prasopoulou and A. Chalari (eds.) New Generation Research on a Changing Greece. Athens: Kerkyra Publications SA, p. 13.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Fonchingong, C.C. (2014) Firming up institutional policy for deprived elderly in Cameroon. Politics and Policy 42(6): 948–980. doi:10.1111/polp.12003/abstract.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Fultz, E. and Pieris, B. (1999) Social Security Schemes in Southern Africa. An Overview and Proposals for Future Development (No. 11). Geneva.

  27. Henry, L. and Mohan, G. (2003) Making homes: The Ghanaian diaspora, institutions and development. Journal of International Development 15(5): 611–622. doi:10.1002/jid.1019.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. ILO (2014) World social protection report 2014/15. Building economic recovery, inclusive development and social justice. Geneva.

  29. Kasente, D. (2006) Gender and social security reform in Africa. In: SADC Social Security Specialists Conference. Gender and Social Security in the SADC Region. Kampala: Makerere University.

  30. Kasente, D., Asingwire, N., Banugire, F., Kyomuhendo, S., Musenge, L., Kalikiti, W. and Musenge, D.K. (2002) Social security systems in Uganda. Journal of Social Development in Africa 17(2): 157–183.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Lafleur, J.M. and Lizin, O. (2015) Transnational Health Insurance Schemes: A New Avenue for Congolese Immigrants in Belgium to Care for Their Relatives’ Health from Abroad? (No. 3). Cambridge.

  32. Levitt, P., Lloyd, C., Mueller, A. and Viterna, J. (2015) Global Social Protections: Setting the Agenda (No. RSCAS 2015/78). Badia Fiesolana.

  33. Lucas, R. and Stark, O. (1985) Motivations to remit: The case of Botswana. Journal of Political Economy 93: 901–918.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Magnoni, B., Lovoi, A., Brown, J. and Thornton, R. (2010) Risks Across Borders. A Study of the Potential of Microinsurance Products to Help Migrants Cope with Cross Border Risks. Washington, DC: Multilateral Investment Fund.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Mayer, M.M., Bauer, N. and Müller, A. (2013) Social Security for Third-Country Nationals in Germany.

  36. Mazzucato, V. (2008) Transnational reciprocity: Ghanaian migrants and the care of their parents back home. In: E. Alber, S. van der Geest and S. Reynolds Whyte (eds.) Generations in Africa: Connections and Conflicts. Munster: Transaction Publishers, pp. 91–109.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Mazzucato, V. (2009) Informal insurance arrangements in Ghanaian migrants’ transnational networks: The role of reverse remittances and geographic proximity. World Development 37(6): 1105–1115. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2008.11.001.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Mazzucato, V. (2011) Reverse remittances in the migration-development nexus: Two-way flows between Ghana and The Netherlands. Population, Space and Place 17: 454–468. doi:10.1002/psp.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Mazzucato, V., Kabki, M. and Smith, L. (2006) Transnational migration and the economy of funerals: Changing practices in Ghana. Development and Change 37(5): 1047–1072. doi:10.1111/j.1467-7660.2006.00512.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Mazzucato, V. and Schans, D. (2011) Transnational families and the well-being of children: Conceptual and methodological challenges. Journal of Marriage and the Family 73(4): 704–712. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2011.00840.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Mendola, M. (2010) Migration and Informal Social Protection in Rural Mozambique.

  42. Mercer, C., Page, B.E.N. and Evans, M. (2009) Unsettling connections: Transnational networks, development and African home associations. Global Networks 9(2): 141–161. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0374.2009.00248.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Oduro, A.D. (2010) Formal and informal social protection in sub-Saharan Africa. In: Promoting Resilience Through Social Protection in Sub-Saharan Africa. Dakar: European Report on Development, pp. 28–30.

  44. Olivier, M. and Govindjee, A. (2013) Labour rights and social protection of migrant workers: In search of a co- ordinated legal response workers: In search of a co- ordinated legal response by Marius Olivier * and Avinash Govindjee **. Paper presented in inaugural conference of the Labour Law Research Network (LLRN). Barcelona.

  45. Opiniano, J. (2010) International migration as social protection mechanism in the Philippines: Issues and implications. In: E.P. Eyébiyi, P. Herrmann and V. Sheen (eds.) Global Crossroads in Social Welfare: Emergent Issues, Debates and Innovations Across the Globe. Bremen: BoD – Books on Demand, pp. 63–93.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Orozco, M. (2003) Hometown Associations and their Present and Future Partnerships: New Development Opportunities? Washington, DC.

  47. Otieno Ong’ayo, A. (2014) How can the EU and Member States Foster Development Through Diaspora Organisations? The Case of Ghanaian Diaspora Organisations in The Netherlands (No. 162).

  48. Pasha, T. (2012) Overview of skills transfer programmes – IOM perspecive. Geneva: IOM. http://www.migrantservicecentres.org/userfile/TauhidPasha.pdf.

  49. Sabates-Wheeler, R. and Feldman, R. (eds.) (2011) Social Protection and Migration: Claiming Social Rights Beyond Borders. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  50. Sabates-Wheeler, R. and Koettl, J. (2010) Social protection for migrants: The challenges of delivery in the context of changing migration flows. International Social Security Review 63(3–4): 115–144.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Sabates-wheeler, R. and Waite, M. (2003) Migration and Social Protection: A Concept Paper (No. T2). Sussex.

  52. SASPEN (2014) The Crux of the Matter: International Migration, Rights, Social Protection and Governance: Key Challenges to Our Common Future. In: Saspen-fes conference social protection for migrants in Southern Africa. Johannesburg.

  53. Schmalzbauer, L. (2004) Searching for wages and mothering from afar: The case of Honduran transnational families. Journal of Marriage and the Family 66(5): 1317–1331.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Schrieder, G. and Knerr, B. (2000) Labour migration as a social security mechanism for smallholder households in Sub-Saharan Africa: The case of Cameroon. Oxford Development Studies 28(2): 223–236.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Shepherd, A., Marcus, R. and Barrientos, A. (2004) Policy Paper on Social Protection. London. http://www.odi.org.uk/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/1670.pdf.

  56. Swemmer, T. (2013) State Provision of Social Protection to International Migrants: The Relevance of Social Protection Frameworks. IDS working paper. (no. 9) (vol. 2013). London.

  57. Taha, N.M.M. and Siegmann, K.A. (2013) How Portable is Social Security for Migrant Workers? A Review of the Literature (no. 573). The Hague.

  58. Tevera, D. (2013) International Remittances and Social Protection of Transnational Migrants and Their Families: Which are the Issues?

  59. Thieme, S. (2003) Savings and Credit Associations and Remittances: The Case of Far West Nepalese Labour Migrants in Delhi, India (no. 39). Geneva.

  60. Tognetti Bordogna, M. and Piperno, F. (2013) Towards a transnational governance of care needs stemming from migration: Transnational welfare and third sector. In: International Conference: Participatory Local Welfare, Citizenship and Third Sector Organizations. What is at Stake? Pisa, pp. 1–14. http://www.volontariatoepartecipazione.eu/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Paper-Tognetti-Piperno-trad-finale-Bordogna-Piperno.pdf.

  61. van Ginneken, W. (2013) Social protection for migrant workers: National and international. European Journal of Social Security 15(2): 209–221.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Verpoorten, R. and Verschraegen, G. (2008) Formal and Informal Social Protection in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Complex Welfare Mix to Achieve Poverty and Inequality Reduction. Leuven: University of Leuven.

    Google Scholar 

  63. von Benda-Beckmann, K. (2015) Social security in transnational legal space. In: S. Koengete and W. Smith (eds.) Transnational Agency and Migration. Actors, Movements and Social Support. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  64. Vonk, G. (2002) Migration, social security and the law: Observations on the impact of migration policies upon the position of migrants in social security law in Europe. Social Security in Transition 31(0).

  65. Vonk, G. and van Walsum, S. (2012) Access denied. Towards a new approach to social protection for formally excluded migrants. Intersentia 31: 124–150.

    Google Scholar 

  66. Yeung, A.B. (2006) Churches in Europe as Agents of WelfareSweden, Norway and Finland. Working Paper 2 from the Project Welfare and Religion in a European Perspective. (No. 2) (vol. 1). Uppsala.

Download references

Acknowledgments

This study was funded under FP7 Marie Curie Actions International Training Network ‘Transnational Migration, Citizenship and the Circulation of Rights and Responsibilities’ (project number PITN-GA-2013-608417).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ester Serra Mingot.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Serra Mingot, E., Mazzucato, V. Mobile Populations in Immobile Welfare Systems: A Typology of Institutions Providing Social Welfare and Protection Within a Mobility Framework. Eur J Dev Res 29, 787–805 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41287-016-0061-4

Download citation

Keywords

  • global social protection
  • formal social protection
  • informal social protection
  • semi-formal social protection
  • transnationalism
  • migration