Migration, Mobility and Rights Regulation in the EU: critical reflections on policy and practice

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This article assesses developments in European Union (EU) migration policy and practice and their implications for rights regulation in the Union, as revealed in this special issue and the wider literature. It identifies how rights are constituted in the complex and multivalent policy-making field of the EU. The article views rights as constituted in the process of migration governance. This governance analysis puts centre stage an assessment of the links between policy, policy-making and policy's social and political ordering effects. The article argues that the significance of the Union needs to be analysed against different aspects of rights regulation. The article adopts an analytical framework which discriminates between the discursive framing of migrants' rights, the specification of such rights in Union and member state policy, and the shaping of rights by actors in context at the local level. The article concludes that, first, the Union has begun to play a significant role in regulating mobility rights across its territory in ways which can undermine the substantive or normative rights accessible to migrants in practice. Second, its policy and legal role are politically significant as it asserts the role of the EU as a source of regulatory authority over the distribution of rights for citizens and non-citizens within its territory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-253
JournalPolicy Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013


  • governance
  • migration
  • rights
  • work
  • Welfare


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