Swedish Retirement Migrants To Spain and Migrant Workers: Interlinked Migration Chains and Their Consequences To Work and Care In Ageing Europe

Friday, July 18, 2014: 4:00 PM
Room: Booth 40
Oral Presentation
Inés CALZADA , Spanish National Research Council, Madrid, Spain
Anna GAVANAS , University of Linköping, Norrköping, Sweden
In Swedish public discourse, retirees born in the 1940s are considered a growing cohort of relatively wealthy consumers, with more cosmopolitan preferences and habits, and different demands compared to previous generations. Swedish retirees are part of a growing stream of Northern Europeans who migrate to Southern Europe to retire in the sun. This paper presents the preliminary results of an ongoing research project on the conditions of Swedish retiree migrants in Spain and of the workers who provide care and services for them.

We found that social networks, intermediaries and subcontractors are crucial to the organization of migration as well as for the provision of work and services in IRM destinations. In the private sector there are Swedish migrant workers, entrepreneurs and service providers offering the "trust" and "security" of a shared culture. In addition, there are Spanish workers hired by Swedish businesses as well as migrant workers from third countries. At the public and non-profit side, there are Spanish National Services, Town Council "foreign resident offices", voluntary interpreters, NGOs and charities surrounding the Swedish IRMs. Thus, Swedish IRMs, with little knowledge of Spanish language and institutions, are strongly dependent on intermediaries.

Spaniards and third-country migrants that provide work and services for Swedish IRMs have little direct contact with Swedish IRMs, partly due to language issues, and partly due to not being hired directly by them. They normally occupy low skilled jobs that are not considered acceptable by Swedish workers and entrepreneurs in the area.

Exploring the relations between streams of migrants who meet in Spain, and their intermediaries, this project explores issues of mobility and the globalization of care/service, of crucial importance to welfare states and the future of work, elderly care and retirement conditions in Europe.