Thematic Panel 18 – Comparative perspectives on live-in care migration 

Thematic Panel 18

Comparative perspectives on live-in care migration 

Conveners and Discussants:

Simone Leiber, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
August Österle, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria 

With societal change and varying political priorities, care arrangements and practices organised through formal and/or informal channels are transforming across the world. In this context, the phenomenon of long-term care provided by migrant workers in a live-in setting (i.e. care workers live in the household of an elderly person in need for care), has become an increasingly common response to arising care gaps. Live-in migrant care work is an important source of care provision in many Asian countries, has become widespread in Conservative and Southern European welfare states, and is also used in many other parts of the world. Usually, such live-in care arrangements developed bottom-up, often as a grey economy of care. At some point, many countries’ care, migration or employment policies started to react with some effort of regularisation of stay, work or recruitment, or just with a tacit acceptance of irregular arrangements. But live-in migrant care work is rarely addressed in a more comprehensive way, it often remains a source of care provision detached from the overall care policy priorities.

This thematic panel particularly seeks to enhance the comparative perspective on studying live-in migrant care work. We invite studies from different regional contexts across the world (using either single country case studies that allow for implicit comparison to other presenters, or explicitly comparative designs) to enhance our knowledge on, e.g.

  • the measurement of the phenomenon in quantitative terms, and methodological problems related to that,
  • the working and living conditions of migrant care workers,
  • effects of live-in care work in the societies of the home countries, as well as the destination countries
  • the role of agencies as intermediaries in this field, or
  • the relationship between welfare systems and welfare reform (e.g. retrenchment) and the development of live-in migrant care work.
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