Symposium 1 – The role of national policies in shaping migrant workers’ experience in providing home care for older people in Europe

Symposium 1

The role of national policies in shaping migrant workers’ experience in providing home care for older people in Europe


Shereen Hussein, Professor of Care and Health Policy Evaluation, the Personal Social Services Research Unit, University of Kent, United Kingdom


Ito Peng, Professor of Sociology, University of Toronto, Canada

Migrant care workers play a significant role in meeting the needs of older people requiring care at home in most developed countries. Growing evidence indicates the difficult organisational structures and working conditions that impact on the experience of both the migrant workers and older people and their families, particularly when care is delivered at home. These experiences are shaped by a set of national policies and factors related to the individual workers and users’ needs. Immigration, welfare and labour policies directly and indirectly impact the sustainability of migrant workers’ contribution and the quality of relationships and care provided. The symposium will start with an overarching comparative paper (Hussein) on the demand and use of migrant workers in the long-term care sector (LTC) in eight OCED countries (Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea and UK) highlighting commonalities and differences. We then present case studies from Norway, Germany and Italy, offering rich and insightful discussions of various countries facing similar challenges of meeting escalating care needs, but who adopt different immigration, welfare and employment policies. From Norway, Christensen examines how macro and meso factors in the UK and Norway influence migrants’ destination and care work choices. Theobald investigates how the restructured market-oriented German LTC organisation might be linked to increased stratifications and inequalities among migrant care workers. Di Rosa and Lamura provide detailed analysis of the interplay between the Italian cash-for-care approach, the employment of formal and informal migrant workers and the redistribution of care burden and their competing effects.
The convenor, discussant and presenters are members of an international network linked to he UK ESRC-funded programme: Sustainable Care: connecting people and systems (PI S Yeandle), within which Hussein is a team leader responsible for the project: Migrant Care Workers in the UK: An Analysis of Sustainability of Care at Home.

Panel composition:

1. Shereen Hussein, Professor of Care and Health Policy Evaluation, University of Kent, United Kingdom
‘A comparative analysis of the sustainability of migrant care workers in eight OECD countries’
2. Karen Christensen, Professor of Sociology, Bergen University, Norway
‘Contextualising decision processes of migrant care workers in social care – the case of Norway’
3. Hildegard Theobald, Professor of Organisational Gerontology, University of Vechta, Germany
‘Care workers in professional long-term care in Germany: The intersection of migration status and social class’
4. Mirko Di Rosa, Research Fellow, National Institute of Health and Science on Aging; INRCA, and Giovanni Lamura, Head of Centre for Socio-Economic Research
on Ageing, INRCA, Italy
‘Migrant care workers in Italian households: recent trends and future perspectives’