Journal of Population Ageing

, Volume 3, Issue 1–2, pp 39–57 | Cite as

Ageing, Demand for Care and the Role of Migrant Care Workers in the UK

  • Alessio CangianoEmail author
  • Isabel Shutes


In recent decades, rapid population ageing has dramatically increased the need for older adult care provision in the UK. A prominent role in meeting the care needs of the older population has been played by migrant workers. The aim of this paper is to explore the characteristics of the UK social care system that shape demand for migrant labour, the conditions under which migrant care workers are employed, and older people’s and migrant care workers’ experiences of the quality of care. Our analysis draws on the findings of a survey of providers of social care for older people, in-depth interviews with migrant care workers, and focus groups with older people. The findings show that the underfunding of social care and interrelated workforce shortages are largely responsible for the extensive reliance on migrant workers among social care providers, and raise concerns for workforce inequalities and for the quality of care.


Migration Social care Older people Labour market Discrimination UK 



We gratefully acknowledge the contribution of Sarah Spencer to this paper and of George Leeson, with whom we carried out the research on migrant care workers in the UK. We are grateful to The Nuffield Foundation and The Atlantic Philanthropies for their financial support for this research. We also thank two anonymous referees for their useful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ESRC Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS)University of OxfordOxfordUK

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