“Private care and domestic work is characterised by underemployment, insecurity and low wages” – Interview with Zenia Hellgren and Barbara Hobson

Families and Societies projectWelfare regimes are very different across Europe – what is the impact on migrant care workers? Even in very different welfare states such as Sweden and Spain, they have similar problems of underemployment and exploitation. This is one of the main conclusions of the comparative research of Barbara Hobson and Zenia Hellgren, researchers within Families and Societies, the European project analysing social change and new demographic trends. AGE Platform Europe is one of the partners in charge of disseminating this project.

Both researchers have analysed the situation of migrants employed as domestic workers and carers in Europe, including as carers of older people. While situations vary, Hobson and Hellgren highlight the fact that domestic and care work performed by migrants is inherently linked to precariousness and low pay, as demand is driven by the willingness to spend less in a context of crisis, competition between private service providers and declining social protection for long-term care needs. Upwards social mobility seems to be infrequent, as most migrant domestic workers and carers continue in the same precarious jobs for long periods of time. When chances of integration differ, this is surprisingly not linked to different welfare state regimes, but more to the composition of the own household and the opportunity to take up education in the host country.

Families and Societies is a 4-year project running until January 2017.

Read the full interview here

Read more about the Families and Societies project

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