Construction of Migrant Care Workers in East Asia: Intersection Between Migration Regimes and Care Regimes

Monday, 11 July 2016: 10:53
Location: Hörsaal 10 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Reiko OGAWA, Kyushu University, Japan
In many developed countries, lack of paid or unpaid care which is referred to as ‘crisis of care’ has been met by various measures including the introduction of migrant care workers. In East Asia, rapid population aging, decreasing capacity of the families and state’s retrenchment from the social security induced the transnational migration of care workers. While increasing number of women in East Asia are mobilized into the labour market to achieve gender equality at the national level, the women in Southeast Asia have to cross borders to undertake care work in richer households and care facilities. However, the meaning of care work differs significantly depending on how care regime and migration regime intersects within different contexts. Migration regime shapes the social status of the migrants in the host society and care regime defines the quality of care work undertaken by migrants.

   In Taiwan, migrants from Southeast Asia care for the elderly predominantly in private homes; in Japan, migrants from the same Southeast Asian countries entered under the bi-lateral free trade agreement and working in care facilities; and in Korea, Chinese Koreans enter the care labor market as co-ethnics. The presentation aims to compare how the different configuration and intersections of migration regimes and care regimes in Japan, Taiwan and Korea have defined the entitlement of the migrants and resulted in different construction of care work. It also aims to unpack the notion of ‘migrant care workers’ by analyzing the role of institutions such as state, market and family through the perspective of the migrants and discusses the sustainability of globalization of care work that is emerging in East Asia today.