Can welfare states and migration be combined? | Monique Kremer | University of Amsterdam

Can welfare states and migration be combined? | Monique Kremer | University of Amsterdam


Can the welfare state and migration be combined? That is a question that worries a lot of people. With open borders migrants from all over the
world will come to countries with generous welfare states. Sociologist also expressed worries: if you want to have solidarity, the basis of the welfare state people need to trust each other. and they need to identify with each other. But: migration is part and parcel of contemporary
society. In the Netherlands, one in five people
has a migration past. In big cities this is one in three. Migrants also increasingly tend to move back and forth, stay more temporarily or live transnational lives due to internet and social media. What about their solidarity? Some academics speak about super diversity. In my view that sounds much too positive. I am more worried about new unequalities,
so I prefer to speak about unequal diversity because a refugee or Polish tomatoe picker have different chances in
life than a Indian IT knowledge worker. So we do have migration, but, we also have a generous welfare state The Dutch welfare state still has a fairly generous social security system, care policies, nearly universal health care policies. So san welfare states be combined with migration
and what does it mean for the future? In my research I analyse welfare state policies,
mainly social security and care policy. Migrants are not often interviewed themselves
about solidarity: it is mainly natives. I analyse surveys, interview people and do
participant observations when people meet ‘the welfare state’, for instance when
they encounter the professionals working in it. Indeed, welfare states and migration diversity can go along, but changes are necessary. First to maintain the existing solidarity
new conditionalities are necessary for our social security system. Many natives feel solidarity towards outsiders in the Netherlands, but they do not want to grant them the same rights from day one, when they enter the country. People have to have work, they say My research shows: that many migrants themselves also agree with that. Secondly, to make sure that people with a
migrant background also feel solidarity we have to give them the feeling the welfare state is also their home. Thirdly, to cherish solidarity people from
different backgrounds, higher-lower educated people, people born in the Netherlands and people from somewhere else, they need to meet each other for instance in the labour market or in their neighbourhoud. And social and care professionals are needed
to make these difficult connections between various people. So, welfare state and migration can be combined,
but we do have to adapt our welfare state.

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