Intrigued by Global Care Chain theory and the shifts of elderly care under the national rural-urban migration trend, this study aims to explore the role of rural migrants in the elderly care labour market in urban China. In the background section, the starting point of Global Care Chain will be followed by the status of elderly care and rural-urban migration contributions in China. Considering methods, this study collects secondary data for quantitative analysis, while conducts interviews for thematic analysis in the case field of Shanghai. The anticipated outcomes section consists of literature implication on positive impact of rural migrants on urban elderly care service and China Care Chain, practice implication for elderly care in urban China, and policy implications.
Global Care Chain (GCC) focuses on the mechanism of global reproduction, care services internationalisation, and care labour migration (Yeates, 2009). GCC involves the flow of workers from developing countries to work as paid elder caregivers in developed nations while leaving their own children and parents behind. Global care chain has been found across various regions, including North America, Western Europe, and parts of Asia (Yeats, 2009; Michel and Peng, 2012). There are similarities underlying these care chains, as Yeats (2009) and Bettio et al (2006) illustrated, 1) in input countries: ageing, decreasing birth rates, increasing labour force participation of women, increasing needs of caregivers, unwillingness of national workers to undertake care work; 2) to output migrant workers: attractive payment, better working conditions and career prospects, supportive immigration policies. The trend of migrant care workers also puts forward challenges. To input areas, as Bettio et al (2006) proposed, optimal elderly care provisions need to ensure efficiency, equity, sustainability and balance demand and supply. To output areas, illustrated by Yeats (2009), those at the bottom of the global nursing chain suffered detrimental effects on elderly care due to migration output.
The rapid ageing, boosting care needs, and increasing migrant workers also represent in China. To describe elderly care provision in China, this study would concern about the roles of state, market and family and their relations in the care provision for elderly people. For the financial supports, family support (Du and Tu, 2000) and state pension system (Gold et al., 2009) contribute to the provision of care for older people. The service provision for elderly people in China traces various stages in urban China. Primarily, the extended family shouldered the responsibility of elderly care service (Chen and Yang, 2012). However, due to ‘One Child Policy’ in 1980s, explained by Du and Tu (2000), the size of families is becoming smaller, which leads to the decreasing caregivers. The elderly care service providers in urban areas are changing from family members to hired care workers.