The Role of Migrant Care Workers in Ageing Societies

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

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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.




The ageing of the population presents serious challenges to developed Western nations, particularly those managing the retirement and care of a growing number of older persons. Ageing populations will place demands on expensive retirement and care systems and there will be relatively fewer prime-age workers to meet a range of economic demands. The ageing population will generate an increasing demand for caregivers, a demand made challenging because of the declining availability of native-born caregivers. This problem is compounded by various factors, including, among others, the evolution of today’s often-isolated households, declining family care of older people, increasing life expectancy of infirm elderly, and the increasing demand for social caregivers, often in home settings.


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