Immigration status and basic social human rights: a comparative study of irregular migrants' right to health care in France, the UK and Canada

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The article examines the constraints that irregular migrants' immigration status exerts on the realisation of their basic social human rights. To this end, the article focuses on the right to health care and undertakes a comparative study of irregular migrants' access to health care in France, the United Kingdom and Canada. The study shows that states perceive the conferment of social rights on irregular migrants as an erosion of the government's immigration power notwithstanding their characterisation as human rights. The resource-intensive nature of the right to health care further heightens states' reluctance to extend this right to irregular migrants. Yet compliance with international human rights law and respect for human dignity require that states reinstate personhood as a source of rights and therefore reassess the relevance of their immigration power.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-40
Number of pages35
JournalNetherlands Quarterly of Human Rights
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


  • migrant
  • immigration
  • health care
  • social rights

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