Article

Older people within transnational families: the social policy implications

University of York, UK
International Journal of Social Welfare (Impact Factor: 0.54). 07/2008; 18(3):243 - 251. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2397.2008.00600.x

ABSTRACT Given that more people ‘permanently’ migrate today than in the past, migration has taken on a heightened profile internationally. Such mobility raises fundamental social policy questions of entitlement and (re)negotiation of caregiving obligations and arrangements. Social policy has traditionally approached problems and developed responses within the confines of the nation-state and faces difficulties in recognising and addressing issues arising from mobility. Migration contributes to family being ‘stretched’ beyond national boundaries to become dispersed, global or transnational families. This article focuses attention on one dimension of transnational living – older people as members of transnational families. The combination of increasing population mobility and the elongation of new post-retirement life-stages is resulting in a set of pressing social policy issues. It explores immigration, pension eligibility and portability, and social services and caregiving issues. To illustrate these issues the article draws on New Zealand's diverse transnational family forms and experience.

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    • "Historically, South Asian families lived in patrilocal, multi-generational households. Such arrangements are often unsettled by international migration and transnationalism where migrants cannot always determine for themselves who constitutes their family (Burholt 2004; Lunt 2009). Family reunification migration streams often include elderly members who relocate to be near their children. "
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    • "In this situation social service staff may have to communicate with relatives outside national borders in order to keep them informed and involved. Lunt (2009: 249) states that wealth makes a difference to the opportunities of children to make regular extended visits to their parents. Visiting is further constrained by possible limitations imposed by governments and employers. "
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    ABSTRACT: Emigration and immigration are phenomena as old as history but the accelerating globalisation has made international migration visibly present in practically all nations and regions, bringing with it global and local social transformations as well as novel challenges for national welfare states. While both migration and welfare states have been popular research topics for a long time, the same cannot be said about their intersection. In particular, discussions concerning patterns of migration in connection to patterns of care have gained researchers’ attention only within the last ten years. This article aims to outline the different ways how the two major social issues of migration and care are, particularly under the ongoing worldwide ageing of the population, closely interrelated and argue for an analysis that focuses simultaneously on both. Migrating people are not just labour force. They have lives and families of their own. Migration touches more and more families all over the globe and all of them are faced by questions concerning care: when migration separates family members geographically from one another, how can care and support be provided and maintained for those who need it, that is, children as well as older and/or disabled family members? It has even been said that care is a pivotal issue in both affecting the decision to migrate and in shaping transnational life. Skilled migrating professionals are often better resourced to arrange care for their family members than less skilled labour migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Many families find themselves in situations where, despite of difficulties, it is necessary to provide ‘transnational care’, that is, care for family members across national borders. Absence of the members of working age generations is especially problematic in societies where the care of children, disabled and older persons depends mainly on the family and public systems for care are not available.
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    ABSTRACT: Mobility of the young and educated from Finland to Europe has been on the rise. This article looks at the experiences of Finns working in other EU countries, based on the Working in Europe online survey conducted in 2008. When moving abroad, the loss of cultural capital may worsen the migrants’ labour market situation. However, the majority of the 364 survey respondents rate their experiences as positive and they succeed well in negotiating the value of their cultural capital. This article outlines four explanations to this happiness. Firstly, Finns have a good standing compared with some other mobile groups and their embodied cultural capital seems to hold its value abroad. Secondly, they work in international environments and thirdly, many are employed because of their language skills, especially in the Finnish and Swedish languages; which indicates that institutionalised cultural capital is also recognised. Fourthly, it is asked whether a ‘happiness barrier’ could cause this overwhelmingly positive result. Yet some respondents, who had treaded off the beaten track leading to a metropolis such as London, did describe their negative experiences in detail. To supplement this picture a set of more thorough qualitative interviews is envisioned as a continuation of the study.
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