Migrant labour and care for older people in ‘liberal’ welfare states: the case of England

Tuesday, June 25, 2013
2.22 (Binnengasthuis)
Isabel Shutes , London School of Economics
The provision of formal care services for older people in England involves a quasi-market of (means-tested) public and private sources of funding, public (local authority) and private (older people and their families) purchasers, and predominantly private (and to a lesser extent voluntary and local authority) providers of residential and home care services. The implications of growing demand for care have brought to the fore issues concerning both the quantity and quality of services for older people. This chapter examines those issues through the lens of migrant labour. Migrant workers (non-UK citizens) were increasingly employed in the adult social care sector in England over the past decade, comprising EEA nationals mainly from Eastern European countries and, to a greater extent, non-EEA nationals from countries such as the Philippines, India and Zimbabwe. Drawing on the findings of research on the employment of migrant workers in the provision of care for older people, the chapter examines, first with regard to quantity, how the expansion of care services has depended partly on migrant labour, particularly in private nursing care homes and particularly in non-permanent/flexible types of employment. The connections and tensions between immigration, care and employment systems are explored as regards the employment of migrant workers in particular sectors, types of care provision and types of care work. Second, with regard to quality, the chapter examines the relationship between migrant care workers’ and older people’s experiences of the quality of care and of care work, again, addressing the connections and tensions between the immigration, care and employment systems in this context. The interactions of these policies, it is argued, are reflected in precarious and conditional forms of citizenship, with regard to experiences both of labour and of care, among citizens and non-citizens.