The welfare state and the social rights of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children who have reached the age of majority

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: In recent years, the numbers of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) arriving to Europe have drastically increased. Due to delays in the asylum procedure, many UASC have turned 18 years old before the asylum procedure has ended. These adolescents need access to welfare services but they often lose several social rights when they reach adulthood. In this light, I have investigated the social rights of UASC who have reached the age of majority by using Esping-Andersen’s theory of welfare state regimes. I find that the social rights of this group vary between Germany, the conservative welfare state regime, and Sweden, the social democratic welfare state regime. However, in both of the countries, this group in general have limited access to welfare services. This is problematic since social rights are crucial for incorporation in the society. The findings are in several ways in line with the main characteristics in the two regimes but in order to fully understand what determines the social rights of UASC who have reached the age of majority further research is needed.

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