Dr Catriona Stevens
Care is a migration issue and migration is a care issue. Our aged care workforce is increasingly diverse, with migrants to Australia entering the sector every day. At the same time, Australians are themselves becoming increasingly diverse, the result of many waves of migration to Australia. There are opportunities as well as challenges in building a culturally and linguistically diverse care workforce to support a culturally and linguistically diverse older population.

Cat is a Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow with the Social Ageing (SAGE) Futures Lab in the ECU School of Arts and Humanities. She has expertise in the sociology and anthropology of migration, ageing, aged care and care workforce issues, and in Chinese Studies.  Her work emphasises understanding transnational migrants’ lived experience in the context of the policy frameworks that affect when and how people move, live and care across borders throughout the life course.

1) Class and migration. Cat’s research is at the forefront of a new renaissance in studies of social class in both Australian and global migration studies. Both her award-winning PhD thesis and her more recent care workforce study are at the forefront of efforts to bring class (back) into migration research and theory and into creative conversation with more well-established frameworks like ethnicity, gender, religion, and race. Global policy shifts towards selective migration programs that filter on the basis of skills and education mean that class and the related privileged im/mobilities it entails are now necessarily positioned at the core of new comparative migration studies. This theoretical engagement with class and related policy informs her more applied work in migration and care.

2) Labour migration, care practice and social policy. The integral connection between migration and care is key to addressing the aged care crisis underway in Australia and globally. Forty percent of the Australian aged care workforce are culturally diverse, with the proportion of migrants expected to increase following the introduction of new visa pathways for the sector in 2023. Developing appropriate policy responses in the intersecting fields of (i) migration, (ii) education and training, and (iii) employment that will support these essential workers is critical to solve the labour shortages endemic to the sector.

3) Abuse of older people. Elder abuse is a complex social phenomenon involving multiple forms of abuse. Effective responses therefore demand change in policy and practice in multiple relevant sectors, including legal, financial, health and care services, policing and statutory responses, and require commitment from all levels of government. Cat’s research engages policy actors across sectors, and offers a sociological contribution to this field, where criminological, legal and health research dominate, that emphasises holistic, integrated, and interdisciplinary responses and foregrounds the lived experiences of older adults.

ResearchingSociology of migration
AffiliatedEdith Cowan University|
CountryUnited Kingdom
Focus areaSociety