Clicca qui per scaricare

A new status for migrant workers: restrictions of the free movement of labour in the EU
Titolo Rivista: MONDI MIGRANTI 
Autori/Curatori: Gabriella Alberti 
Anno di pubblicazione:  2016 Fascicolo: 3  Lingua: Inglese 
Numero pagine:  17 P. 33-49 Dimensione file:  236 KB
DOI:  10.3280/MM2016-003003
Il DOI è il codice a barre della proprietà intellettuale: per saperne di più:  clicca qui   qui 

Mainstream interpretations of the free movement of labour in the European Union as responsible for a ‘race to the bottom’ for indigenous workers’ conditions fail to consider the multifaceted nature of migration and the benefits of mobility for migrant workers. Starting from the emblematic case of welfare and migration reforms in the United Kingdom and reviewing recent judgments by the European court this article explores ongoing restrictions of the free movement and social rights of internal migrants. The tightening conditionality of worker status, based on the obligation to prove habitual residence and the holding of employment, emerges as a central device in the differentiation of migrants’ access to social benefits in the host state. Interviews with experts and NGOs and analysis of recent case laws across Member States illustrate how jobseekers and precarious migrants are confined to a liminal space where they either prove to have a ‘genuine prospects of work’ or lose their social benefits, and in extreme cases risk expulsion. The argument is that these regulatory restrictions supported by the courts bring about a re-stratification of UE labour citizenship diminishing migrant bargaining power and deepening precariousness for both migrants and citizens.

Letture mainstream della libertà di movimento nell’ Unione Europea come responsabile della corsa verso il basso nelle condizioni dei lavoratori autoctoni non comprendono la natura complessa delle migrazioni e i benefici della mobilita per i lavoratori migranti. Partendo dal caso emblematico delle riforme del welfare e dell’ immigrazione nel Regno Unito e analizzando sentenze recenti della Corte di Giustizia Europea, l’articolo esplora le attuali restrizioni della liberta di movimento e dei diritti sociali dei e delle migranti interni. L’irrigidimento della condizionalità dello status di lavoratore/trice basato sull’ obbligo di dimostrare la residenza abituale e un impiego lavorativo nel paese di immigrazione, emerge come dispositivo principale di differenziazione nell’accesso dei migranti e delle migranti ai benefici sociali. Interviste con esperti e ONG insieme ad analisi di precedenti legali in diversi paesi membri illustrano come i migranti in cerca di lavoro o precari si trovano in uno spazio liminare in cui se non riescono a dimostrare di avere delle prospettive genuine di impiego perdono diritto alle protezioni sociali e in casi estremi rischiano l'espulsione. L’autore sostiene che queste restrizioni normative sostenute dall’attività dei tribunali provocano una ri-stratificazione della cittadinanza lavorativa UE, restringendo il potere contrattuale e approfondendo la precarieta di migranti e cittadine/i.
Keywords: Migranti, libera circolazione, welfare, mobilità, diritti lavorativi, cittadinanza UE.

  1. Alberti G. (2014). Mobility strategies, ‘mobility differentials’ and ‘transnational exit’: the experiences of precarious migrants in London’s hospitality jobs. Work, Employment & Society, 28, 6: 865-881
  2. Anderson B. (2015). Immigration and the worker citizen. In: Anderson B., Hughes, V., eds. cit.: 41-57.
  3. Anderson B., Hughes V., eds. (2015). Citizenship and its others. Palgrave Macmillan uk.
  4. Anderson B. (2013). Us and them? The dangerous politics of immigration control. Oxford: Oup.
  5. Andrijasevic R., Sacchetto D. (2016). From labour migration to labour mobility? The spectre of the multinational worker in Europe. Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, 9;, DOI: 10.1177/1024258916635975
  6. Caldarini C. and Goldmann H. (2016). Quand on expulse des Européens. La Available at: 4 March 2016. Accessed March 2016.
  7. Caldarini C., Giubboni S., McKay S. (2014). The “place” of atypical work in the European social security coordination: A transnational comparative analysis Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom) WP Csdle “Massimo D’Antona” Collective Volumes - 2/2014.
  8. Chauvin S., Garcés‐Mascareñas B., Kraler A. (2013). Employment and migrant deservingness. International Migration, 51, 6: 80-85.
  9. Coe N.M., Jordhus-Lier D.C. (2011). Constrained agency? Re-evaluating the geographies of labour. Progress in Human Geography, 35, 2: 211-233.
  10. Cremers J., Dolvik J.E., Bosch G. (2007). Posting of workers in the single market: attempts to prevent social dumping and regime competition in the eu. Industrial Relations Journal, 38, 6: 524-54.
  11. Dwp (Department of Work and Pension) (2014). Press Release, Minimum earnings threshold for Eea migrants introduced, 21 February 2014. Available at: Accessed April 2014.
  12. Dølvik J.E., Visser J. (2009). Free movement, equal treatment and workers” rights: can the European Union solve its trilemma of fundamental principles? Industrial relations journal, 40, 6: 491-509.
  13. Dustmann C., Frattini T. (2014). The fiscal effects of immigration to the uk. The economic journal, 124, 580, F593-F643.
  14. EC (European Commission, press release, Brussels, 30 May 2013 Social security benefits: Commission refers uk to Court for incorrect application of eu social security safeguards, available at: Accessed January 2016.
  15. Euco (European Council) (2016). The United Kingdom and the European Union, Conclusions – 18 and 19 February 2016-General Secretariat of the Council Delegation Euco 1/16 CO EUR 1 CONCL 1.
  16. Fudge J. (2012). Precarious Migrant Status and Precarious Employment: The Paradox of International Rights for Migrant Workers. Comparative Labor Law and Policy Journal, 34, 1.
  17. Fudge J. and Strauss K. (2013). Temporary Work, Agencies and Unfree Labour: Insecurity in the New World of Work. Oxon: Routledge.
  18. Gaffney D. (2014) Are in-work benefits in the uk a magnet for eu migrants? Touchstone tuc blog, 09 Dec 2014.Available at /2014/12/are-in-work-benefits-in-the-uk-a-magnet-for-eu-migrants/. Accessed: March 2015.
  19. Hayes L. and Novitz T. (2013). Workers without footprint. The legal fiction of migrant workers as posted workers. In: Ryan B., cit.
  20. Hughes G. (2011). Free movement in the EU. The case of Ireland. Berlin: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
  21. Icf Ghk (2013). A fact-finding analysis on the impact on the Member States’ social security systems of the entitlements of non-active intra-eu migrants to special non-contributory cash benefits and healthcare granted on the basis of residence. Available at: =1980&furtherNews=yes. Accessed October 2015.
  22. Kennedy S. (2015). Measures to limit migrants’ access to benefits. Briefing paper Number 06889, 17 June 2015. London: House of Commons Library.
  23. Kretsos L., Martinez Lucio M. (2013). Destandardization of employment in the UK: Issues, politics and policy reinvention. In Koch, M., & Fritz, M. (2013) Non-standard employment in Europe: Paradigms, prevalence and policy responses. Palgrave Macmillan: UK (103-116).
  24. Krings T. (2009). A race to the bottom? Trade unions, EU enlargement and the free movement of labour. European Journal of Industrial Relations, 15, 1: 49-69.
  25. Krings T., Bobek A., Moriarty E., Salamońska J., Wickham J. (2013). Polish migration to Ireland: “Free Movers” in the new European mobility space. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 39, 1: 87-103.
  26. Meardi G. (2007). The Polish plumber in the West Midlands: theoretical and empirical issues. Review of Sociology 13, 2: 39-56.
  27. Meardi G. (2012). Union immobility? Trade unions and the freedoms of movement in the enlarged EU. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 50, 1: 99-120.
  28. Mrci (Migrant rights centre Ireland) (2005) Social protection denied: the impact of habitual residence condition on migrant workers. Dublin. Available at -residence-condition-on-migrant-workers. Accessed October 2014.
  29. Lillie N., Greer I. (2007). Industrial Relations, Migration, and Neoliberal Politics: The Case of the European Construction Sector, Politics and Society, 35: 551-581.
  30. McKay S., Jeffrey S., Paraksevopoulou A., Keles J. (2012). Study on Precarious work and social rights. Working Lives Research Institute. London: London Metropolitan University.
  31. Ryan B. (2013). Labour Migration in Hard Times. London: Institute of Employment Rights.
  32. Reid-Musson, E. (2014). Historicizing precarity: A labour geography of ‘transient’ migrant workers in Ontario tobacco. Geoforum, 56, 161-171;
  33. Rodriguez J.K., Mearns L. (2012). Problematizing the interplay between employment relations, migration and mobility. Employee Relations, 34: 580-593.
  34. Schiek D. (2015a) Chapter 1. A Growing Tension? In: Schiek D., Oliver L., Forde C., Alberti G. eu Social and Labour Rights and EU Internal Market Law. Directorate General for Internal Policies. Policy Department A: economic and scientific Policy. Document requested by the European Parliament’s Committee on Employment Affairs (Empl).
  35. Schiek D. (2015b). A spectacular turnaround on eu citizens” benefits by the ecj citizens/QPOL Policy Engagement at Queen’s. Accessed January 2016.
  36. Schiek D., Oliver L., Forde C., Alberti G. (forthcoming) EU Social and Labour Rights and eu Internal Market Law. Directorate General for Internal Policies. Policy Department A: economic and scientific Policy. Document requested by the European Parliament's Committee on Employment Affairs (Empl).
  37. Silver B.J. (2003). Forces of Labor: Workers’ Movements and Globalization since 1870. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
  38. Smith C. (2006). The double indeterminacy of labour power Labour effort and labour mobility. Work, Employment & Society, 20, 2: 389-402.
  39. Strauss K., McGrath S. (2016). Temporary migration, precarious employment and unfree labour relations: Exploring the “continuum of exploitation” in Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Geoforum;
  40. Vianello F.A. (2012). Dall’Europa alle Città: Cittadinanza globalizzata a confini variabili. Cambio, Anno II, 4: 57-69.
  41. Valcke A. (2015) Case studies – access to social and health services for mobile eu citizens. eu Rights Clinic- Helping you with eu rights. Brussels.
  42. Wright E.O. (2000). Working-class power, capitalist-class interests, and class compromise. Am. J. Sociol. 105, 4: 957-1002.

  1. Simone Castellani, On the Fringes of Social Protection: New Southern European Labour Migration to Germany in International Migration imig.12760/2020 pp. , DOI: 10.1111/imig.12760
  2. Simone Castellani, Scivolando verso il basso. L'inserimento lavorativo dei nuovi migranti italiani e spagnoli in Germania durante la crisi economica in SOCIOLOGIA DEL LAVORO 149/2018 pp. 77, DOI: 10.3280/SL2018-149006
  3. Enrico Pugliese, La nuova emigrazione nel crocevia migratorio italiano in SOCIOLOGIA E RICERCA SOCIALE 123/2020 pp. 138, DOI: 10.3280/SR2020-123009

Gabriella Alberti, Un nuovo status per i lavoratori migranti: restrizioni della libera circolazione del lavoro nell’UE in "MONDI MIGRANTI" 3/2016, pp. 33-49, DOI:10.3280/MM2016-003003


FrancoAngeli è membro della Publishers International Linking Association associazione indipendente e no profit per facilitare l'accesso degli studiosi ai contenuti digitali nelle pubblicazioni professionali e scientifiche