Migrant care workers in the UK

An analysis of sustainability of care at home.

About the work package

Led by Professor Shereen Hussein (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine).

Home care workers provide personal care and practical and emotional support. In recent years, marketisation, personalisation and austerity have created new labour market dynamics and a growing ‘grey’ care economy. Other trends are emerging too, with men now around a quarter of the UK’s migrant social care workers, and much care work provided by independent and for-profit organisations.

The UK has long relied on immigration to fill labour shortages in the care sector, but in 2004, European enlargement and tighter regulation of non-EU migration changed the profile of migrant care workers.

With Britain’s vote to leave the EU in 2016, possible reductions in care labour from EU or other markets, and reforms under consideration in the immigration system which would limit international recruitment, there are pressing questions about the sector’s capacity to meet demand.

This team, led by Shereen Hussein, comprises Dr Agnes Turnpenny, and Dr Majella Kilkey. Its focus is on contemporary issues, notably UK policy changes between 2018 and 2020, their impact on migrant care workers’ roles, recruitment and status; their implications for the sustainability of the care system and wellbeing of all stakeholders; and the changes needed in how home care work is supported and organised.

The team’s main research questions are:

  1. How are UK policy changes in 2018-2020 affecting the roles, recruitment and status of migrant home care workers? Which groups are most affected, and why? Are there differences across the four UK nations?

  2. What are the implications of these changes for sustainability and wellbeing for care users, carers, home care providers/businesses, care workers (migrant/non-migrant) and care commissioners?

  3. In light of these developments, what changes are required in the support and organisation of home care?

  4. In shaping future home care policy and practice, what can be learned from other countries where migrant care labour features significantly in how home care is delivered?

Team members

Professor Shereen Hussein
Lead for Migrant Workers in the UK

View Professor Shereen Hussein's profile

Dr Agnes Turnpenny
Research Associate

View Dr Agnes Turnpenny's profile

Professor Jon Glasby
Co-lead for Care Systems

View Professor Jon Glasby's profile

Professor Majella Kilkey
Co-Investigator, Care 'in' and 'out of' place

View Professor Majella Kilkey's profile

Dr Magdolna Lőrinc
Research Associate

View Dr Magdolna Lőrinc's profile