Migrant Access to Social Security and Healthcare: Policies and Practice: EMN Inform

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This EMN Inform summarises the main findings of the EMN Study on Migrant access to social security and healthcare: policies and practice.

Key points to note:

  • The equal treatment provisions contained in the EU’s Migration Directives have influenced national legislation and practice, in particular as regards the social security rights of third-country nationals holding long-term residence permit and EU Blue Card holders.
  • There appears to be a connection between the systems used to finance social security benefits and their accessibility by third-country nationals. Third-country nationals that are holders of long-term residence permits generally have access to all of the benefits reviewed in this study.
  • However, equal treatment for third-country nationals that are holders of fixed-term residence permits tends to be granted more readily in relation to benefits that are financed through contributions by employers and employees.
  • Member States use different mechanisms to regulate access by third-country nationals to social security benefits.
  • In the majority of Member States, claiming social security benefits – in particular social assistance – can have some negative impact on the legal status of third-country nationals in procedures for residence permit renewal, applications for long-term residence permits, naturalisation and family reunification.
  • Existing bilateral agreements on social security reached by Member States with third-countries extend access by third-country nationals to certain social security benefits, especially benefits that are contributory or partially contributory.
  • Significant variations in the material scope and geographical coverage of these bilateral agreements mean that many third-country nationals may lose acquired social security rights when they move out of the European Union.

See also:

Author(s):European Migration Network
Publisher:Directorate General Home Affairs, European Commission
Publication Date:03 Jul 2014
Geographic Focus:Europe
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