In its recent documentation on migration issues, the European Commission has been promoting “circularity” as an effective and efficient way to manage labour migration from both within and outside the EU. But how does the employment of circular migrants exactly work and what are its implications for Europe's societal challenges such as ageing and immigration?
To answer to these questions, the present study focuses on Eastern European circular migrants and the elderly care sector. In particular, it draws attention to Romanian and Ukrainian care workers within the two Italian provinces of Verona and Reggio Emilia with the aim to assess the actual convenience of “circularity” for the overall improvement of home care provision. On this ground, it pursues three interrelated research objectives: 1) the impact of “circularity” on the employment relationship between care workers and their employers; 2) the way circular migration affects the organisation of home care from the welfare state’s point of view; and finally 3) the conditions which allow “circularity” to take place in an efficient and profitable way.
These issues are investigated in a comparative and diachronic way, looking at the differences between Ukrainian and Romanian migratory patterns during the period of 2006-2011. A further layer of comparison is added by the differences between Verona and Reggio Emilia, two towns with relevant dissimilarities concerning political traditions and public administrations.
Finally, this project contributes to the scholarly debate on gender, care and migration by introducing “care units” (i.e. the ensemble of subjects involved in the provision of care to an individual care receiver) as an innovative object of analysis. In order to assess the impact of “circularity” on these “care units”, a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods is foreseen for extended fieldwork in the two Italian provinces.