The role of Migrant Health and Social Care Workers in Ageing Societies

2007 - 2009
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This international collaborative project examined the future need for migrant care workers in the context of ageing societies. It explored the employment of migrant workers in the delivery of health and social care to older people across the UK, the USA, Ireland and Canada, with the project team comprising researchers from COMPAS, the Institute for the Study of International Migration (Georgetown University), the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (National University of Ireland), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Community Health Research Unit (Ottawa University). These countries are of particular interest given that the migration of native care workers between the four sites has been considerable in the past, and each nation is now thought to be a significant participant in the global migration of care workers. The four countries also represent an interesting blend of established and recent immigration. However, the full extent of the roles migrant care workers play in the delivery of care in the context of an ageing society remained relatively unknown.

Focusing on the UK, and in most detail on the situation in England, COMPAS researchers investigated the current and potential future demand for migrant carers in an ageing society; the experiences of migrant care workers, their employers and of older people in residential and home care settings; and the implications of these findings for the social care of older people and for migration policy. The research sought not only to address the important gaps in knowledge about the role of migrant care workers in the care of older adults in the home and long term care sectors in the UK, but also to provide comparative data to the situations in Ireland, Canada and the US.

Principal Investigator

Sarah Spencer


Bridget Anderson
Alessio Cangiano
Vanessa Hughes
Isabel Shutes
Lourdes Gordolan (Kalayaan, London)
Kenneth Howse (Oxford Institute of Ageing, University of Oxford)
George Leeson (Oxford Institute of Ageing, University of Oxford)
Jo Moriarty (King’s College London)


The Atlantic Philanthropies
Nuffield Foundation