ESR5: Opportunities and challenges of household-based migrant care work as a support to informal caregiving

Work package 1
ESR Oliver Fisher
Supervisor Dr. Giovanni Lamura
Co-supervisor Prof. Erik Buskens
Host institution National institute of health and science on ageing, Italy
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Objectives: To perform a systematic analysis of different approaches, including their impact at a micro (i.e. on both care recipients and informal caregivers), meso (i.e. on care providing organisations) and macro level (i.e. on the whole long-term care system, but also in terms of possible care drain risks on migrants’ countries of origin).

Household-based care work for older people provided by privately hired domestic workers with a migration background has become an increasing phenomenon in many European countries. Initially born as a pragmatic solution adopted by families to fill in the gaps of formal long-term care systems facing population ageing, it has become in some countries a systematic component of care provision, incorporated in different ways into the existing long-term care system. In some cases this occurred by regularly employing migrant workers as acknowledged care actors, for instance by means of accreditation and/or integration in care providers organizations; in others, it has taken the “low road” of undeclared work, thus reducing also the possibility to control for possible exploitation and/or low care quality. The ESR will first receive an in-depth training on migrant care work related issues and conduct an in-depth systematic review of the literature. Next, to gain a comprehensive picture of the issue, the ESR will carry out expert interviews, make use of the ENTWINE-iCohort data, and conduct secondary data analyses following a mixed method approach. This will allow him/her to formulate viable solutions for a better integration of this emerging form of care for older people to the formal system of destination countries, while considering the effects of this phenomenon also on migrants’ source countries.

Expected Results

This research project will allow the ESR to gain an in-depth understanding of how household-based migrant care work is affecting and changing traditional forms of informal caregiving, especially in those countries in which this phenomenon is more widespread. In particular, the project will provide extensive information on the requisites needed to let this care pattern represent a win- win situation for all involved actors, including the possibility to improve its integration within the formal care system.


Ferraris, G., Fisher, O., Lamura, G., Fabbietti, P., Gagliardi, C., & Hagedoorn, M. (2022). Dyadic associations between perceived social support and psychological well-being in caregivers and older care recipients. Journal of family psychology. Advance online publication.

Malmgren Fänge, A., Christensen, J., Backhouse, T., Kenkmann, A., Killett, A., Fisher, O., Chiatti, C., Lethin, C. (2022). Care Home and Home Care Staff’s Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beliefs about Subsequent Changes in the Future: A Survey Study in Sweden, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom. Healthcare 2022, 10, 306.

Morrison, V., Zarzycki, M., Vilchinsky, N., Sanderman, R., Lamura, G., Fisher, O., Ferraris, G., Elayan, S., Buskens, E., Bei, E., ... & Hagedoorn, M. (2022). A Multinational Longitudinal Study Incorporating Intensive Methods to Examine Caregiver Experiences in the Context of Chronic Health Conditions: Protocol of the ENTWINE-iCohort. International journal of environmental research and public health, 19(2), 821.

Fisher, O. (2021). The Impact of Micro and Macro Level Factors on the Working and Living Conditions of Migrant Care Workers in Italy and Israel—A Scoping Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(2), 420.

Fisher, O.; Fabbietti, P.; Lamura, G. (2021). Socio-Economic Predictors of Hiring Live-In Migrant Care Workers to Support Community Dwelling Older Adults with Long-Term Care Needs: Recent Evidence from a Central Italian Region. Sustainability 2021, 13, 5349.

Lethin, C., Kenkmann, A., Chiatti, C., Christensen, J., Backhouse, T., Killett, A., Fisher, O., Malmgren Fänge, A. (2021). Organizational Support Experiences of Care Home and Home Care Staff in Sweden, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Healthcare 2021, 9, 767.

Casanova, G., DiRosa, M., Fisher, O., & Lamura, G. (2020) Between Migrant Care Work and New Occupational Welfare Tools: Changing Home Care Arrangements in Italy, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17 (15), 5511


Host Secondment supervisor Aim Duration
University of Groningen, the Netherlands Prof. Erik Buskens To learn about the contents, role and characteristics of informal care within the broader context of health and long-term care for dependent and frail older people, including the analysis and modelling of cost-benefits in relation to care quality and expenditures when migrant care work comes into play 3 months
Tech4Care, Italy Dr. Carlos Chiatti To gain an in-depth understanding of how household-based migrant care work can be efficiently implemented to support frail and dependent people 3 months