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CANCELLED: Migration and Care Labor in Europe: Theory, Research, and Politics

Oct 28

**Update from Project Leader Marie Louise Seeberg**

Thank you for your interest in our final conference, which we have all been looking forward to. Sadly, the conference committee and I have come to the decision that due to the coronavirus pandemic we have to cancel the conference.

This was supposed to be a big event, and we see the risk as too high as things stand now. We have carefully considered changing it into an online event, but have come to the conclusion that given the unpredictable situation, even counting on the necessary technical support is too risky.

Stay safe.



The WELLMIG project (2016-2020) emphasizes that migrants not only depend on, but also contribute to the welfare state in significant ways: European population growth slows down while population ageing accelerates, creating a growing demand for healthcare workers. Some scholars and policy makers suggest that healthcare worker migration is part of the solution to the growing European demand. Others invoke ethical recruitment and care drain concerns and advocate local recruitment of healthcare workers. Data gathered by the World Health Organization (WHO) show that migration of healthcare workers is accelerating despite these concerns.

Researchers such as Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Russell Hochschild or Nicola Yeats contextualize the care-migration nexus within the ‘global care chains’ or the ‘global care economy.’ These conceptualizations unravel the entanglements between care services and migration patterns and map care shortages in different countries, showing discrepancies leading to ‘global extraction of care.’ ‘Regimes of mobility’ as a flexible conceptual and analytical tool befits investigation of how states and other administrations influence individual mobility.

Migration scholars such as Jorgen Carling, Nina Glick Schiller and Noel Salazar document how different intersecting regimes of mobility normalize the movements of some migrants while entrapping the ventures of others. In a migration context, employees are likely to have transnational family and care obligations. This makes the spatial dimension of the work-life interface acutely visible and relevant: migrants may be regarded as continuously enacting work-life balance.

In this conference, we are primarily interested in the challenges and experiences of nurses and healthcare professionals working in any European country outside of their countries of education.  We are also interested in healthcare workers, especially nurses, who were unable or perhaps unwilling to secure jobs in the health field and have undertaken other employment.

Conference Format

The conference will run from October 28-30, 2020 and will include two keynotes and 8-12 sessions discussing theoretical issues, empirical research with healthcare workers, recruiting agencies, and patients, as well as policy analyses and debates related to migration of healthcare workers. The sessions will be 1.5 hours long and should include a minimum of three papers or presentations.


We welcome submissions on a range of relevant topics, including, but not restricted to:

  1. Impact of mobility regimes on the lives of migrant healthcare workers
  2. Intersectionality of migration, gender, ethnicity, and class shaping experiences, outcomes, and policies
  3. Migrant healthcare workers’ integration into the European labor markets and society
  4. Transnational lives of migrant healthcare workers
  5. Care chains in a global healthcare economy
  6. Precarity of migrant healthcare workers
  7. Social remittances and professional skills gained while working abroad
  8. Ethical aspects in the recruitment of healthcare workers from abroad
  9. Impacts of healthcare worker migration on healthcare systems and societies in the countries of origin


Registration for the conference is free of charge. Participants are responsible for the cost of their travel and accommodation in Oslo. There will be a reception on the first evening and lunches will be provided on the second and third days.

Event information
28/10/2020 - 30/10/2020
NOVA, OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University
Oslo, Norway