The Role of Migrant Care Workers in Ageing Societies
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The Role of Migrant Care Workers in Ageing Societies

Report on Research Findings in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and the United States

This report represents the comparative results of a research project on the role of migrants in the workforce of caregivers for the elderly in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and the United States. The purpose of the study is to examine 1) the contextual factors influencing current and future demand for care workers in an ageing society, particularly migrant care workers, 2) the experiences of migrant workers, of their employers, and of older people in institutional care (residential and nursing care homes) and in home-based care; 3) the implications of the employment of migrant workers in the care of older people for the working conditions of the migrants concerned and for the quality of care; 4) the implications of these findings for the future care of older people and for migration policy and practice.
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Author(s):
Sarah Spencer, Susan Martin, Ivy Lynn Bourgeault, Eamon O’Shea

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This report presents the comparative results of a research project on the role of migrants in the workforce of caregivers for the elderly in the UK, Ireland, Canada and the United States. As noted, the purpose of the study was to examine current and future demand for migrant care workers in ageing societies and the experiences of employers, migrant care workers, and older people. The context in all four nations is one in which funding has been, and will increasingly be, constrained, whether the source is private or public. Indeed, most of the central challenges raised by the use of migrant labour are embedded in the context of what is, essentially, an often-underpaid sector of employment. Our overarching conclusion is thus that the solutions to the challenges we identify lie fundamentally in the social care system. The increasing reliance on recent migrants can be seen as a symptom of the structural and funding challenges social care systems are experiencing, and migrants, while they have a contribution to make, are not the solution to those deficiencies.