ABSTRACT

In the past two decades west European welfare states have implemented more restrictive immigration policies towards citizens from outside the European Union (EU), Firstly, the large-scale recruitment of temporary foreign workers that started during the 1950s in virtually all West European countries was stopped in the early 1970s. Secondly, it has become increasingly harder for asylum seekers to be recognized as political refugees. Moreover, the opening of borders in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the political and economic transformation has increased the flow of refugees and migrants that enter West European countries through (and from) the reform states. Nevertheless, there has been a selective import of temporary workers from CEE countries such as seasonal and project-tied workers and an alleged increase in undocumented migration since the late 1980s. The rights statuses of these, mostly temporary, workers tend to be inferior to that of the former guestworkers. In contrast to former guestworkers in Germany, for example, the rotational principle is strictly enforced. Thus, not only have immigration policies become more restrictive but the social rights status of labour migrants has also become more precarious. In general, social rights of new migrant groups have become more contentious in the political realm. Increasingly, these rights are discussed in terms of'we' and 'them'. This indicates that the understanding of citizenship espoused in public discourse is not only tied to sets of formal rights and obligations but also to a sense of belonging to ethnic groups or a nation, nationalism. In sum, the international flow of persons has become contentious on the domestic level – a process of internal internationalization.