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The ECHR and the protection of irregular migrants in the social sphere

Da Lomba, Sylvie (2015) The ECHR and the protection of irregular migrants in the social sphere. International Journal on Minority and Group Rights, 22 (1). pp. 39-67.

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Abstract

For more than a decade, the Council of Europe has expressed deep concern over irregular migrants’ poor access to basic social rights. With this mind, I consider the extent to which the European Convention on Human Rights can contribute to protect irregular migrants in the social sphere. To this end, I consider the role of international supervisory bodies in social rights adjudication and discuss the suitability of international adjudication as a means to uphold irregular migrants’ social rights. Having reached the conclusion that international adjudication can help protect irregular migrants’ social rights, I examine the ‘social dimension’ of the European Convention on Human Rights and the significance that the European Court of Human Rights attaches to immigration status. I posit that the importance that the Court attaches to resource and immigration policy considerations in N v. United Kingdom significantly constrains the ability of the European Convention on Human Rights to afford irregular migrants protection in the social sphere.