DESK REVIEWS | 08.01.04. Does migration (within and between countries) play a role in the availability of informal care workers? What are the migration patterns?

DESK REVIEW | 08.01.04. Does migration (within and between countries) play a role in the availability of informal care workers? What are the migration patterns?

We have not been able to find any official information about this, but emigration for low-skilled jobs is not common. In times of Brazilian financial crises, there is a small proportion of women who emigrate to other countries to work as informal care workers (legally or illegally) (IEA USP, 2017). Regarding within country migration, this may happen generally from poorest regions (northeast and north) towards the richest ones (southeast). We do not believe this has had an impact on the availability of informal care workers in Brazil.


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

The below refers to family caregivers/unpaid caregivers as informal caregivers:

Urbanisation and search for better economic opportunities have driven migration. Das and colleagues (2012) discuss the impact of rapid urbanisation on people with dementia in Kerala. The authors argue that urbanisation has caused earning members of families to migrate for better economic opportunities. The authors suggest that, as a result, there are fewer family members to provide care, which leaves many people with dementia with little care options.


Das, S., Ghosal, M., & Pal, S. (2012). Dementia: Indian scenario. Neurology India, 60(6), 618.

Middle Eastern countries and Malaysia are major destinations for Indonesian migrants although Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan are becoming increasingly important. The Middle East-bound flow is dominated by female domestic workers migrating on short-term fixed contracts leaving families behind (Tatisina & Sari, 2017). In 2004, women accounted for 94% of registered Indonesian workers in Saudi Arabia. In 2005, more than a million Indonesian female migrants were employed as domestic workers in the Middle East and Asia. There is indication of a “care drain” when women in families are leaving the households to take up caregiving or domestic helper roles in other families.


Tatisina, C. M., & Sari, M. (2017). The Correlation Between Family Burden And Giving Care for Dementia Elderly at Leihitu Sub-District, Central Maluku, Indonesia. 2(3), 41–46.

Rural to urban migration in search of better opportunities for informal care givers or young women may result in minimal workers available to take care of a person especially with late-onset dementia. This could consequently  lead to reduced quality of care for persons with dementia (World Health Organization, 2017c) because of involvement of the available family carers in other household activities. Rural to urban migration for family members may create employment opportunities for informal care givers. However, many of the available domestic workers (untrained but informally given the role of care giving) may not be willing to take care of a person with dementia due to neurological decline and the progressive nature of the disease.


World Health Organization. (2017c). WHO series on long-term care: Towards long-term care systems in sub-Saharan Africa. Geneva, Switzerland.

Mexico is a country with a long tradition of internal migration and migration to and from the U.S. These migration patterns have left many localities with scarcity of young adults who could be informal carers, but to date, no studies that document this with sound data are available.