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Europäisierung der pflegerischen Versorgung: die Rolle von Vermittlungs- und Entsendeagenturen für migrantische Arbeitskräfte in Deutschland und Polen (EuroAgencyCare)
Polish-German project "Euro Agency Care" is funded by the German Polish Research Foundation. It looks at cross border care migration between Poland
and Germany resulting in so called live-in arrangements. This field is
highly influenced by EU regulation and Single Market integration. Since EU
Eastern enlargement, in Germany (as well as Austria and Switzerland), private
brokering agencies placing Polish care workers in German households have spread
considerably. They have become new players in the European care market and –
first steps in this direction are observable – in European politics.
literature points to the fact that negative integration (market making) and
legal uncertainties create opportunity structures inviting actors to pursue
their interests. Our hypothesis is that also in the field of care migration
regulation gaps of the multilevel system, legal uncertainty and a lack of
European and national enforcement (capacity) have created new opportunity structures
for market actors such as brokering agencies. While many of these agencies are
prone to ‘strain’ the law, resulting at times in severe violations of minimum
standards for decent work and human rights, certain agencies seem to have
recognised the importance of 'quality standards' and legitimacy for their
in Germany, associations of brokering agencies have emerged, working on the
enhancement of the still rather unethical image of that sector, building on
voluntary commitments to (both care and work) quality standards for their
members. Interestingly, at least in parts of the sector, under-regulation by
public authorities seems to be answered by self-regulation of the private
market actors. These developments may be seen as an example of how
transnational actors develop new regulatory mechanisms beyond the nation state.
Understanding in-depth the functioning of such mechanisms of Europeanisation is
the core aim of this project.
of Care Migration: a Polish-German Comparison
country case comparison of Poland and Germany seems particularly fruitful in
this field, as both countries are closely interrelated by transnational as well
as European developments in the field of care migration. In both EU member
states, the role of the family in care provision is strong. Due to societal and
economic change, families in both countries tend to be overburdened with this
task. In reaction to that, we observe that care migration has increased
significantly. In concrete, (temporary) live-in arrangements with migrant care
workers in private households have spread in order to compensate for the gaps
left by public care systems and family care.
directions of migration are thereby different in these two states. While Germany
is the destination for a significant inflow of EU citizens, including Poles, a
drain of Polish care workers moving abroad to Western member states contributes
to a widening care gap in Poland. On the other hand, a decisive share of
foreigners employed in the private realm of the Polish care sector comes from
Ukraine, i.e. a third country. This constellation allows for an in-depth
comparative analysis related to the different roles of immigrants, mainly
women, in the private care sector in an Eastern and Western EU Member state,
strongly interrelated to each other. As certain aspects of care migration (e.g.
posting of workers, free movement of workers) are regulated by the EU while
others (e.g. harmonised minimum standards in the care field) are omitted, EU
rules interfere with such (trans-)national developments. How these EU rules
influence the issue of care migration, i.e. how care migration is Europeanised,
is at the heart of this project proposal.
interest: Europeanisation by Negative Integration and Under-regulation
issue of this project is not only one of closing an empirical blind spot, there
is also a strong theoretical interest linked to the discussion on typologies
and mechanisms of Europeanisation. By Europeanisation we understand horizontal
transnational processes of mutual influence between EU member states, as well
as mutual vertical influences between the EU and the national level. Earlier
research points to the fact that negative integration (market
making) and legal uncertainty create opportunity structures inviting domestic
actors to pursue their private interests. Our hypothesis is that also in the
field of care migration regulation gaps of the multi-level system, legal
uncertainty and a lack of European and national enforcement (capacity) have
created new opportunity structures for market actors such as the above
mentioned employment agencies. Interestingly, at least in parts of the sector,
under-regulation by public authorities seems to be answered by self-regulation
of the private market actors. Understanding in-depth the functioning of such
mechanisms of Europeanisation is a core aim of this proposal.
question and methods
this backdrop, the main research questions of this project read as follows:
What is the current and potential role of employment agencies in the deployment
of migration into the care sector, both within the EU and from third states?
What different (types of) economic as well as political strategies of these
agencies can we observe in the EU multi-level system?
- By using the example of employment agencies
operating between Germany and Poland (but processing also care migrants from
third countries, like Ukraine) we ask: How do Europeanisation processes take
place in semi- or under-regulated markets of the EU-multilevel system? How do
private market actors make use of (supra)national regulation and enforcement
gaps, and how does this relate to issues of care quality? What is the role of
legal straining and infringement, but also the potential of
- Referring to the explicit political aim of rising
quality in long-term care provision in EU member states: What changes are
necessary in public policies (including migration policy and social policy) of
the two analysed states, and what conclusions can be drawn for the European
level in order to better regulate and control processes of care migration?
answer these questions, the project pursues a mixed methods approach combining
quantitative (survey) data on employment agencies with qualitative expert
interviews with selected representatives of the agencies and their
associations, with decisive political stakeholders, as well as with other union
or civil society representatives at the European and national level.
of the project
important impact of the project will consist in proposing policy solutions
aiming to enhance the quality of long-term care provision in Europe. We are
assuming that the role of employment agencies is important here, but operating
under different rules than now. Besides obvious scientific values the project
thus includes a significant practical component to be used by governments of
member states, societal actors and EU institutions.