Almost one in five of all care home workers in Britain are migrants – some 266,000 people – but the government’s migration policy has become increasingly restrictive to non-EU migrants, who make up the largest proportion. In 2008 Simon Rawles began photographing migrant carers with their elderly patients to address an unspoken irony.
Why, when we depend on migrant workers to care for our most vulnerable citizens, does Britain reserve some of its worst prejudice for the very people it calls on to care for its frail and elderly?
The more I photographed my subjects in care homes across the country, the more intrigued I was by the rapport that existed between carers and the elderly people they cared for. The pictures I took began to speak about the relationship between two people, generations apart, from different cultures, religions and language, forced in to an intimate involvement.
What made this relationship more intriguing was the venue it is played out in. Care homes are institutions, and workplaces. Carers and residents are brought together not through choice, but circumstance. So what does “home” in the care home setting mean for those who live and work there?
Read the full version in The Northern Correspondent #6