Health Soc Care Community - (-) - [2021-11-25; online 2021-11-25]
Increased demand for long-term care (LTC) services alongside precarious working conditions has resulted in labour shortages in the LTC sector, which has led to an increasing share of workers of migrant origin filling these jobs. Previous research on migrant care workers has also highlighted the seeming gap in working conditions relative to native workers. However, lack of disaggregated data on migrant and native care workers, alongside single-case studies, may have concealed potential disadvantages faced by certain groups and insufficiently accounted for differences in migration regimes and organisation of LTC sectors. To address these gaps, we carried out a comparative study on various working conditions of migrant and native LTC workers in Austria and Sweden. Using the international Nordcare survey on care sector working conditions, carried out in Austria in 2017 (n = 792) and in Sweden in 2015 (n = 708), we employed t-tests and multivariate logistic regressions to compare the working conditions of migrant and native carers in home and residential care in each country. We found that worse working conditions in Sweden compared to Austria may be explained by differences in training requirements of the LTC workforce and the relatively large for-profit private sector. Country of origin also plays a paramount role in the differences in working conditions experienced by migrants compared to native care workers, with non-European migrants being more likely to face a number of precarious working conditions. Our findings highlight the need to continue addressing precarious working conditions across the sector, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic where poor working conditions have been linked to increased COVID-related deaths in nursing homes. Our findings also emphasise the importance of policies that consider the various challenges experienced by different migrant groups in the LTC sector, who may particularly be at risk of presenteeism during the COVID-19 pandemic.