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‘Punishing those who do the wrong thing’: Enforcing destitution and debt through the UK’s family migration rules

Dickson, E; Rosen, R; (2020) ‘Punishing those who do the wrong thing’: Enforcing destitution and debt through the UK’s family migration rules. Critical Social Policy 10.1177/0261018320980634. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

In 2012, the ‘no recourse to public funds’ (NRPF) condition was extended to long-standing migrant families in the UK who had previously achieved rights to residence and welfare through human rights mechanisms. Through close examination of policy, political statements, and media coverage, we make the case that the NRPF extension was – and continues to be – intentionally subjugating and punitive, most aptly understood as a policy of enforced destitution and debt imposed on negatively-racialised post-colonial subjects. In drawing out the implications of our argument, we point to time, destitution, and debt as core technologies of the UK’s migration regime, alongside everyday bordering, detention, and deportability. Denying support through NRPF serves to exclude putatively included migrants while normalising conditional approaches to social support. Our article reveals why moral arguments against NRPF based on destitution fail and suggests that challenging welfare bordering requires a more systemic appraisal of policy frames, intentions and effects.

Type: Article
Title: ‘Punishing those who do the wrong thing’: Enforcing destitution and debt through the UK’s family migration rules
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0261018320980634
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/0261018320980634
Language: English
Additional information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Keywords: bordering, deportability, migration regime, ‘no recourse to public funds’ (NRPF), undocumented migration
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10117987
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