DESK REVIEWS | 03.03.05. Migration

DESK REVIEW | 03.03.05. Migration

It is not common for people to leave Brazil to work as informal care workers in other countries, and it is also rare for foreigners to come and work as informal care workers in Brazil. However, experts have indicated that, during the economic downturn, an increasing number of Brazilians (mainly women and mostly illegally) emigrated to work as professional carers in other countries (IEA USP, 2017). When the terms ‘imigração’ (immigration) and ‘cuidador de idosos’ (carers of older people) are added to the Google search engine, a plethora of agencies that help mediate the migration of Brazilians to work as informal care workers in other countries come up, specially Canada, United States and Europe. However, we could not find any official source of information detailing the number, destination, and characteristics of these individuals.

Among Brazilian people moving from one state to another within Brazil to work as informal care workers, a study suggests that this movement is generally observed from the North-eastern region, and also from the states of Minas Gerais, Parana and Santa Catarina, towards Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro states (Guimarães et al., 2011). No further information could be found about how many and who are these individuals. In general, the main reason for migration within Brazil is economical or ecological disasters. A study conducted by Oliveira and Jannuzzi (2005) on the distribution of migrants per sex and reasons for displacement/migration based on data from PNAD 2001 (a national demographic census conducted by the government) shows that most people migrate to other country regions to live with the family who had moved or due to the person’s job. This study also shows that within-country migration mostly occurs in the group of people aged 20-54 (Oliveira and Jannuzzi, 2005).


Guimarães, N. A., Hirata, H. S., Sugita, K., Guimarães, N. A., Hirata, H. S., & Sugita, K. (2011). CUIDADO E CUIDADORAS: O TRABALHO DE CARE NO BRASIL, FRANÇA E JAPÃO. Sociologia & Antropologia, 1(1), 151–180.

IEA USP. (2017). Fenômeno da migração também tem relação com idosos—IEA USP.

Oliveira, K. F. de, & Jannuzzi, P. de M. (2005). Motivos para migração no Brasil e retorno ao nordeste: Padrões etários, por sexo e origem/destino. São Paulo em Perspectiva, 19(4), 134–143.


It is observed that due to the challenges with agriculture, many informal workers migrate to urban areas, possibly taking up carer jobs due to their high demand and comfortable pay. It has also been remarked that with increasing migration of working-age children, the availability of informal carers for older persons has decreased (Scheil-Adlung & Xenia, 2015). However, more information on the patterns relating to the migrant workforce in long-term care work is not available.


Scheil-Adlung, & Xenia. (2015). Long-term care protection for older persons : a review of coverage deficits in 46 countries. ILO Working Papers.

No resource could be identified that showed an association between migration rates and the availability of the LTC workforce in Indonesia. However, there is evidence of cases, such as in Cilap city in the province of Central Java, where it was found that large numbers of women from the city work as carers and nannies overseas due to economic reasons (Raharto, 2017). These case studies are confirmed by BNP2TKI data (January 2018) that shows that considerable numbers of Indonesians contribute to the long-term care workforce in other countries (Pusat Penelitian Pengembangan dan Informasi BNP2TKI, 2019). This pattern is facilitated through bilateral agreements, such as between Indonesia and Japan, which enables Indonesian nurses to stay in Japan after the completion of their nursing training there (UNESCAP, 2014).


Pusat Penelitian Pengembangan dan Informasi BNP2TKI. (2019). Data Penempatan dan Perlindungan TKI Periode Bulan Desember Tahun 2018.

Raharto, A. (2017). Pengambilan Keputusan Tenaga Kerja Indonesia Perempuan untuk Bekerja di Luar Negeri: Kasus Kabupaten Cilacap (Decision making to work overseas among Indonesian women labor migrants: the case of Cilacap district). Jurnal Kependudukan Indonesia, 12(1), 39–54.

UNESCAP. (2014). Report of the Regional Expert Consultation on Long-term Care of Older Persons.

There is no information specifically on LTC workers.

Migration is a major challenge for the South African health system (Rawat, 2012). Due to poor working conditions (mentioned above), practitioners leave the public sector seeking employment opportunities in the private sector. In addition, health care workers are also migrating abroad due to a lack of employment opportunities and unfavourable working conditions in the public sector (DOH, 2011). Medical practitioners (8 921), nurses (6 844) and other health practitioners (7 642) are absorbed by countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States sector (DOH, 2011).


DOH. (2011). HUMAN RESOURCES FOR HEALTH SOUTH AFRICA (HRH) Department of Health. Available from: Publications/hrh_strategy-2.pdf

Rawat, A. (2012). Gaps and shortages in South Africa’s health workforce. Backgrounder, 31(June), 1–8.