The lives of Filipino-Irish care workers
in Immigrants as outsiders in the two Irelands
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This chapter examines Filipino migration to Ireland through the lens of the care industry, informed by the experiences of migrants in a range of occupations and with varied legal statuses. It draws on semi-structured interviews with migrant domestic and care workers, observations of the Domestic Workers Action Group and the work conducted by the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland in this sector. Filipinos in Ireland have often been heralded as an example of successful integration, the example of those in the nursing profession often being cited. This assumption obscures the reality of a large number of Filipinos, working as domestic workers, childminders, cleaners and carers; they often find themselves trapped in the labour market, unable to progress as a consequence of discrimination and often exposed to the exploitation and isolation of low-paid caring occupations. Exclusionary labour migration and family reunification policies have resulted in many remaining undocumented in the state, adding another layer of vulnerability to many of them. This chapter also explores the coping strategies found by the community to overcome some of these structural barriers: these range from community-led initiatives to mechanisms to circumvent discrimination and control.

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