Older people within transnational families: The social policy implications

ArticleinInternational Journal of Social Welfare 18(3):243 - 251 · July 2008with19 Reads
Impact Factor: 0.88 · DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2397.2008.00600.x


    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.