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Development Trends in Family-Immigration Policies in Europe: Convergence, a ‘Race to the Bottom’, or a ‘Civic Turn’?
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Previous studies of family-migration policy have pointed to growing policy restrictiveness in European countries, seen as related to broader trends in policies on migration and the integration of immigrants (such as convergence, a ‘race to the bottom’, or a ‘civic turn’). Still, no comprehensive cross-country comparison has so far been done that accounts for the varying policy configurations and differing levels of conditionality integral to family-immigration policies. This paper presents a typology for analysing policy configurations and changes therein, based on a two-dimensional conceptualization that distinguishes between eligibility criteria (EC) and qualifying conditions (QC). Analysing different policy changes, variations, and configurations, the paper maps how admission policies developed across 20 European countries between 1990 and 2010. The results show that admission policies on average became more restrictive over time, although there were some notable exceptions. The trend was towards reduced variation in both EC and QC. However, my analysis reveals substantial differences in the policy configurations of different countries; some policy changes go against the common trend. Uncovering patterns of congruence and deviation in a more detailed way than previous research has done, this paper challenges expectations about convergence, a ‘race to the bottom’, and a ‘civic turn’ in family-immigration policies and suggests that these expectations need to be qualified.

Keywords [en]
Family-immigration policies, Eligibility criteria, Qualifying conditions, Policy configurations, Convergence, ‘Race to the bottom’, ‘Civic turn’
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-479589OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-479589DiVA, id: diva2:1679543
Available from: 2022-07-01 Created: 2022-07-01 Last updated: 2022-07-01
In thesis
1. Managing migration in modern welfare states: Essays on the development, causes, and effects of policies regulating family immigration
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Managing migration in modern welfare states: Essays on the development, causes, and effects of policies regulating family immigration
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Being the main channel of migration into advanced industrial democracies, family migration has been the subject of increasing contestation in political debate. While previous studies have noted that many OECD countries have introduced more restrictive policies on family immigration during the last few decades, we still know little about how cross-country policy configurations in this area have evolved and varied over time, or about how policies affect inflows and why they differ between countries. This dissertation addresses these research gaps by presenting a set of integrated analyses of variations and changes in family-immigration policies across periods and countries.

Essay I presents a typology for analysing policy configurations and changes therein. It finds that admission policies on average became more restrictive over time, although there were some notable exceptions. Uncovering patterns of congruence and deviation in a more detailed way than previous research has done, this paper qualifies previous expectations about convergence, a ‘race to the bottom’, and a ‘civic turn’ in family-immigration policies. Essay II develops and tests different theories of what causes policy changes. It finds that the restrictive effects of certain risk factors on family-immigration policies, such as growing immigration and worsening economic distress, have been conditioned by the type of welfare regime. Essay III investigates whether and how much family-immigration policies have influenced patterns of family immigration in European states. While restrictive admission policies have led to falling overall levels of family immigration, the analysis reveals stratifying implications, whereby the effect have been greater where the sponsor is a non-EU citizen than where he/she is an EU citizen.

With its three-stage approach, this thesis contributes to the study of comparative migration policies. It presents new findings on the interplay between welfare states and migration policies, on the methods with which states regulate international migration, and on the differential impact of different policies on the size and composition of migrant inflows. It also adds insights on increasingly conditional forms of migration management in modern welfare states.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2022. p. 43
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 199
Keywords
Family immigration, Migration policy, Welfare state, Conditionality, Progressive dilemma, Civic integration, Stratification, Policy configurations, Eligibility criteria, Qualifying conditions, Time-series cross-country analysis, Europe, OECD
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-479625 (URN)978-91-513-1559-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2022-10-21, Brusewitzsalen, Östra Ågatan 19, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2022-09-01 Created: 2022-07-01 Last updated: 2022-09-01

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Ahlén, Anton

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