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Welfare-seekers or humanitarian refugees? Immigration and residece in the E.U. for humanitarian and medical reasons: rights, policies, and amp; lived realities.


The issue of so-called and apos; welfare seekers and apos; - individual immigrants and families who seek access to E.U. countries or apply for a delay of departure or a temporary or a permanent residence status in a member state, such as families with seriously ill or handicapped children or persons who need and look for accurate and accessible medical treatment, medication and health care (f.e.HIV hepatitis, diabetes, ...) - will probably become a more prominent and challenging issue in Europe.

Humanitarian and regularisation measures are often neglected in research and policy-making as significant ways for immigrants, and immigrant women in particular, to obtain a long-term stay. While there may be some agreement about the need of asylum and immigration policies to be more human, what this exactly means or what to be considered as compelling humanitarian reasons or serious medical reasons to authorise a long-term stay is not clear. A common or coordinated approach between individual EU Member States is lacking. Debates and tendencies to enlarge the human rights domain, incorporating more basic rights and quality of life dimensions do not readily translate into asylum and immigration policies and practices. Complex ethical issues also arise concerning t he deontological obligations of health care professionals, whereas the increasing pressure on public spending for medical services further complicates the policy issue.

The main questions of this research are: what are and should be considered humanitarian and medical reasons; how and who is to be advice or to decide and on what basis; is it possible to develop a more coherent principled framework for judging particular cases; what are the current rules and practices in European Member States and how do they accord with the humanitarian tradition, common values and conception of fundamental rights of the EU.

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