Social protection is intended to protect people against particular economic and social exclusion, including homelessness, that can be the result of life changing events, such as unemployment or reduced ability to work due to health reasons (including work-related injuries) or changes in families and households, such as birth of a child or death of a partner or parent. It is intended to ensure that all people maintain a minimum level of income to meet their basic needs, and that older people can retire and maintain a decent quality of life. Some of these life changes are inevitable for everyone to go through, while others only impact some people – but in any case, can happen to anyone.
People who face intersectional discrimination and risks of poverty can be more at risk of experiencing negative life events such as work-related accidents, and are more at risk of those events leading to severe economic and social impacts and exclusion, such as homelessness and extreme poverty. This is the case for undocumented migrants, as well as others with a precarious residence status with limited rights.
Social protection is necessary to live a life in dignity and uphold human rights. Different aspects of social protection are enshrined as such in human rights instruments at international, regional and national level. This is also reflected in inclusive language in some legislation elaborating social protection standards, for example, EU employment legislation that refers to ‘any person employed’. Social protection can also be considered an investment in the broader economy, contributing to stabilising people’s incomes, creating jobs, increasing tax revenues, reducing inequalities and barriers to work.
From the perspectives of human rights and social, employment and economic policy, it is therefore necessary to ensure a broad coverage of social protection, and one that ensures protection of those most at risk. Nevertheless, there are important gaps in social protection systems and their coverage of people in precarious employment and social situations.
Non-citizens – in particular those with short-term permits or who are undocumented – are among those that face the most significant exclusions from accessing social protection. This is the case both for social assistance and social services that are provided on the basis of need, and contribution-based benefits that are linked to social insurance or social security contributions. Overall, undocumented people are usually only able to access very limited aspects of social assistance, such as shelter, and even this may not be eligible
for government funding or be contingent on prior or ongoing status resolution procedures or cooperating with return proceedings.
In addition, restrictive conditions on residence permits further compound the negative impacts of events, such as unemployment or workplace accidents, from which social protection seeks to limit harm. Instead of receiving support, regular migrants with a status based on employment or financial independence without recourse to public social assistance, may become undocumented due to the hardship they face.
This is despite the realities of people’s residence, the particular risks they face, as well as their direct and indirect contributions to social protection systems, as taxpayers and workers.
Read more: https://picum.org/publications/
See also: PICUM RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE LONG-TERM RESIDENTS’ DIRECTIVE PROPOSAL FOR A DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL CONCERNING THE STATUS OF THIRD-COUNTRY NATIONALS WHO ARE LONG-TERM RESIDENTS (RECAST) August 2022
PICUM’s recommendations for the proposal to recast the Long-Term
Residents’ Directive focus on provisions that would improve access to settled status and avoid people working irregularly, and improve conditions of long-term residence permit holders, through amendments regarding:
• Ensuring a broad and inclusive scope, conditions and procedure
• Limiting withdrawal of status to exceptional circumstances, with due
• Ensuring equal treatment
• Prioritising family unity
• Streamlining applications and rights of long-term residents exercising
• Committing to provide information in a meaningful way