Care across borders? The role of transnational care arrangements and relationships in ageing migrants lives

21 June 2021

Dr Kelly Hall, University of Birmingham and Professor Majella Kilkey, University of Sheffield


Diverse patterns of mobility and migration are producing new caring contexts. As they age, migrants may develop strategies to exchange care and solidarity across borders. Transnational care can involve physical presence through occasional and extended visits with family, potentially leading to family (re)-unification in the country of origin or destination. There is also a growing recognition that virtual care practices can be maintained with the help of communication technology. Transnational caregiving is, however, not only created at the level of individual relationships, but also facilitated (or hindered) by broader structural contexts and welfare policies, which shape conditions ‘here’ and ‘there’, as well as the relationship between them.

In this presentation, we will focus on the role of transnational care arrangements and relationships in the lives of two different groups of migrants as they age in place; retired British migrants in Spain and post-war African Caribbean, Irish and Polish migrants in Britain. Drawing on qualitative interviews with these migrants, we explore the place of transnational care practices in their lives, and the ways in which structural factors, such as welfare systems, migration policies and geo-political inequalities, can both facilitate and restrict transnational care. Despite their very different migration experiences, we point to the common challenges experienced in respect of care as a result of the ‘hostile environment’ and Brexit.

Speakers' biographies

Professor Majella Kilkey

Majella Kilkey is Professor of Social Policy at the University of Sheffield, where she is also Co-Director of the Migration Research Group in the Faculty of Social Sciences. She is Co-Investigator in the ESRC Sustainable Care programme, researching how care is impacted by increasing diversity, migration and mobility.

Dr Kelly Hall

Kelly Hall is a Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Birmingham. Kelly’s research interests include ageing, social care, migration and the third sector. Her research on international retirement migration focuses on the migration and return of vulnerable, older British people within the EU and more recently the impact of Brexit. Her participatory research has led her to co-develop the website with the British Consulate, Spain.

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