Migrant care workers facing discrimination and hostility

Migrant care workers are facing “widespread discrimination in pay and working conditions” and hostility from some older people, despite the sector’s increasing dependence on them.

That was the message from a study produced today by Oxford University’s Centre on Migration, Policy and Society.

It found the number of foreign-born carers in the UK had grown significantly in the past ten years and they now accounted for 19% of the older people’s workforce.

It said this growth was driven by employers’ inability to attract sufficient numbers of UK-born workers given current levels of pay and conditions.

However, it found that while the average pay of care workers was £6.56 an hour, there was evidence that some migrant staff were receiving less than the minimum wage – currently £5.73 an hour.

There was also a negative attitude to migrant carers by some older people, including verbal abuse.

The centre’s deputy director, Sarah Spencer, said: “This study shows that we already rely heavily on migrant care workers. Yet we are talking about an invisible migrant workforce, a neglected dimension that has not surfaced in policy debates on the future of the sector.”

Among a number of recommendations, it called on the Equality and Human Rights Commission to address the discrimination experienced by migrant care workers, including by providing guidance for employers on handling the hostility of some older people.

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