While social protection as an agenda for reducing vulnerability and risk of low-income households with regard to basic consumption and services has become an important part of development discourse at both national and international levels, there is little literature linking migration to social protection frameworks or policies. The social protection agenda is an evolving one, typically focusing on vulnerable and poor groups, differentiated according to age, health status and their relationship to the formal urban labour market. This paper attempts to locate 'migration' within a social protection framework both theoretically and empirically. It adds to the dominant theoretical discourse around social protection by introducing a 'transformative' element. The authors unravel the links between social protection and migration by exploring migration-specific vulnerabilities. Social protection concerns can emerge at all stages of a migration process as different vulnerabilities characterise the 'deciding migrant', the 'mobile migrant', the 'arrived migrant', the 'returned migrant' and the migrant's family that may remain at home. While the need to manage risk and secure livelihoods can be the main driver of migration decisions, a derived demand for various forms of social protection, state and non-state, may also arise from the migration process. This paper makes a distinction between migration as a social protection strategy and migration as leading to vulnerabilities that require specific social protection instruments. The empirical literature on migration and social protection is reviewed in the second part of the paper with the aim of providing a foundation from which to build future work.
WP-T3, Sussex, UK, DRC on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty, 62 pp.