The need for a ‘migration turn’ in aged care policy: a comparative study of Australian and German migration policies and their impact on migrant aged care

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Despite their sociodemographic importance, investigations of the intersections of ageing and migration remain infrequent. We address this gap by analysing the policy approach to migrant aged care in two countries: Australia and Germany. Our comparative analysis highlights how national histories of migration and associated welfare regimes have given rise to different approaches to meeting the needs of older migrants. Germany has a prevalence of mainstream aged care services, which do not sufficiently address the needs of an increasingly culturally diverse older population. In this respect, Australian multicultural policy, supporting ethnic organisations as aged care providers, facilitating ethno-specific and multicultural services, offers an instructive model. Nevertheless, Australia’s strict parent migration regulations reflect an assumption that older migrants are an economic burden. Neither country provides an innovative transnational social policy. We argue for a ‘migration turn’ in aged care policies to address three critical needs: (1) to increase awareness of the growing proportion of older migrants in countries of immigration; (2) to ensure that policy frameworks better acknowledge and meet the needs of a diverse ageing population; and (3) to highlight the need for political recognition of the role of transnational informal care networks and bi-lateral and transnational policies to support them.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


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