Care migrants in private homes

Professional care and support services play a key role in domestic care. However, in parallel to this, care migrants are also coming to Switzerland from abroad to work in private homes.

The need for care and support for sick, disabled or elderly people is increasing. This is due to a combination of demographic change and an increase in chronic illnesses. A long lifespan and advances in care provision are signs of a modern society with a high standard of living. However, this high life expectancy and new forms of treatment are also giving rise to longer and more demanding care processes, regardless of age or disability. At the same time, care arrangements are increasingly shifting towards home-based services under the guiding principle of providing “outpatient over inpatient” support.

Although professional care and support services play a key role in domestic care provision, a transnational care market is developing in parallel. Care migrants are coming to Switzerland from abroad and working in the homes of people needing care, often also “living in”. In German-speaking Switzerland, these care workers are predominantly women from Germany and EU member states in Eastern Europe. Most of them return to their home countries after an agreed period of work, handing their role over to other migrants. This is what is known as “circular migration”. Careum Research is studying the phenomenon of care migration from the perspective of care provision as part of several collaborative projects.

Further information

The Department for Equality in the city of Zurich has put together an information dossier (german) on the subject of care migrants as new domestic workers.


Fernsehen SRF1, 10vor10: Urteil mit Folgen – eine Care Migrantin erhielt vor einem Basler Gericht zusätzliche Entschädigungen zugesprochen, 12.03.2015.

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