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Equal is not Enough

Reconsidering Civic Integration Policies for Migrants through the Lens of Socio-Economic Status

jeudi 29 septembre 2016 par Sarah Ganty

For the last 15 years, integration conditions for migrants have proliferated in Western European States : the will or capacity of integration are a prerequisite for obtaining rights or legal status. Those integration requirements described as “civic requirements” generally imply a minimum level of knowledge of national language and knowledge of the host country and its values. In most cases, if an applicant does not respect those integration requirements, she is penalised and has her rights or stable status refused. In some countries, migrants are also fined. Those civic integration policies have been adopted at different levels : immigration, citizenship and social welfare policy levels. Civic integration requirements seem to make differences of treatment on the basis of the socio-economic status of migrants. In this context, socio-economically underprivileged migrants seem particularly disadvantaged. However, little attention is paid to this category in the legal literature on civic integration policies. It therefore seems worth addressing from a legal point of view. The present article raises the question whether European and international anti-discrimination clauses – especially the ground of social condition – are suitable legal tools to tackle and protect migrants that are treated differently on the basis of their socio-economic situation within civic integration policies. Some Dutch and Belgian civic integration policies will be used as the material to develop this argumentation.

S. Ganty, « Reconsidering Civic Integration Policies for Migrants through the Lens of Socio-Economic Status, Examples of Belgian and Dutch Legal Orders » in D. Cuypers, J. Vrielink, Equal is not Enough, Intersentia, 2016.

‘Equal is not Enough’ is the title of a series of conferences that has aimed, over the years, to generate a better understanding of what shapes and reshapes inequalities by inviting and promoting multi-disciplinary insights and reflection. One of the conferences – hosted at Antwerp University in February 2015 – focused on discrimination law. The conveners welcomed papers on the relationship between social policy and discrimination law (or closely related human rights issues), which investigate the tensions and (in)compatibilities between the respective aims and tools of social policy and discrimination law. They were particularly interested in contributions that transcend legal technicalities and reflect on the function of discrimination law as part of a wider social policy in the European Union and its member states. Following a very strict selection procedure conducted by the editors and rigorous peer review, a collection of papers from the conference now appears in this book, Equal is not Enough, which takes its name from the title of the conference. In short, within this volume, the reader will find a selection of high-quality papers presented at this conference, organised by the Flemish Policy Research Centre on Equality Policies (a consortium of the Universities of Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent, Hasselt and Leuven). This publication is aimed at researchers, but it will also be of interest to practitioners of discrimination law who would like to enhance their scientific background.

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