Not so New types of worker: migrant care workers in England within a global care market (doc, 23 KB)

Shereen Hussein: ‘Not so New types of worker: migrant care workers in England
within a global care market’.
Keynote speech at ‘New Types of Working in Health and Social Care. Second
International Research Conference’ 21-22 January 2010.
This article reports on a part of a large scale, multi-methods research focusing on the
motivations, experience and future expectations of migrant care workers in England.
The study was funded by the Department of Health’s Social Care Workforce
Research Initiative and was conducted from July 2007 to September 2009. This
presentation focuses on the analysis related to the current importance of migrant
workers to the adult care sector in England. It uses data collected from 101 individual
interviews with employers, human resource managers, UK-born frontline workers
and users of the services in six diverse areas of England and 35 interviews with
recruitment agencies and other policy stakeholders at national level. The study
undertook 96 further interviews with international workers and 23 interviews with
refugees, asylum seekers and representatives of organisations working with them.
This was augmented by quantitative analysis of national data relating to over 5000
recent migrants working in the care sector and over 7000 non-UK qualified social
workers registered to work in England. Participants in the study were from the
statutory, private and voluntary sectors covering services mainly for older people
whether residential or domiciliary.
The interviews were analysed thematically within a conceptual framework of
analysis and coded into NVivo software, which allowed examining variations in
themes by different groups of respondents. The analysis showed that most
employers and human resource managers, whether in local authority, home care or
care home settings, appreciated international care workers. They filled vacancies that
were hard or even impossible to fill otherwise. International workers were often seen
to possess highly valued qualities, such as being hard-working, caring, polite and
very appreciative of the job. Employers welcomed their qualifications, particularly
those gained through healthcare experience, which were particularly valued among
care home staff, and helped meet staff shortages. Very few employers, human
resource managers, frontline workers felt that vacancies in the sector would be
eliminated, even temporarily, by the recession and higher unemployment rates
among UK citizens. Most, however, were aware of the new thresholds for recruiting
international workers from outside the EU, especially those with no formal skills.
The impact of this was uncertain, although some international workers were already
being affected by the increased criteria for renewing work permits and visas.
This paper concludes with a set of messages for this conference. Is there evidence
that migrant workers are undertaking new types of work? Our conclusion is that this
is not so; they were being recruited to traditional services and healthcare experiences
were particularly valued. Second, how will the new types of work being promoted
by personalisation and greater self-directed support relate to migrant care work?
This study concludes that migrants may be flexible and able to personalise support
but that recruitment agencies will still play important roles as intermediaries and in
the making of introductions and practical arrangements. Lastly, the research revealed
gaps in support for employees and employers that need a response, what ever the
shape of social care services. These are support systems for employees facing racism
and the development of good HR practices around diverse staff groups and teams.
These too should be seen as part of new and better ways of working in social care.