Brokering Circular Labour Migration
A Mobile Ethnography of Migrant Care Workers’ Journey to Switzerland
This book examines the commercialisation of domestic and care work through private agencies that organise transnational care arrangements by brokering migrant workers.
The book focuses on the emergence of private for-profit home care agencies following the 2011 extension of the Free Movement of Workers to Eastern European Countries agreement in Switzerland. The agencies recruit migrant women from these countries and place them in private households for elderly care. This book explores how circular labour migration for these care workers is facilitated. In the form of a mobile ethnography, it traces their journey from Eastern European countries to Switzerland – from when care workers find employment and are recruited by agencies to when they arrive at their designated households. From the agencies’ analytical standpoint, the book examines the recruitment and placement practices of the home care agencies and their role in facilitating migration.
Brokering Labour Migration offers an understanding of new migration patterns and highlights fundamental changes in migration control with the extension of free movement of workers in Switzerland to lower-wage countries in Eastern Europe. It will be an invaluable resource for academics and scholars of geography, anthropology, sociology, and gender and migration.
Table of Contents
List of tables and figures; Glossary; List of abbreviations; Acknowledgements; 1. The black box of live-in care labour migration; 2. Paving the way to live-in care work; 3. The rise of home care agencies and packaged home care services; 4. How regulations matter for care agencies and care workers; 5. Finding a job in live-in care; 6. Recruiting care workers; 7. Matching with and travelling to the workplace; 8. Arriving at the household; 9. Care of care workers; 10. The middle space of migration and time for a care revolution; Bibliography; Index.
Huey Shy Chau is Affiliated Researcher in the Economic Geography Group at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Her goal as a migration scholar and economic geographer is to explore how place and space matter, and how they are shaped when people, knowledge, and social and economic practices circulate. She is driven by the motivation to understand social processes and transformation in relation to socio-economic inequality through the lens of mobilities, migration and labour. What interests her most are the sites of struggles and negotiation around workers’ and migrants’ access to resources and social participation, freedom of movement, and the value of work.