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Gendered Migration in a Changing Care Regime: A Case of Korean Chinese Migrants in South Korea

  • Hyunok Lee (a1)


The feminisation of international migration for care labour has gained prominence in the last three decades. It has been theorised mainly in the context of the changing care regime in the Global North; the changes in other parts of the world have been largely neglected. This article explores the dynamics between changing care regimes, labour markets and international migration in the East Asian context through the case of Korean Chinese migrants to South Korea. Korean Chinese came to South Korea through various legal channels beginning in the late 1980s and occupy the largest share of both male and female migrants in South Korea. Korean Chinese women have engaged in service sector jobs, including domestic work and caregiving, since their influx, yet such work was only legalised during the 2000s in response to demographic changes and the care deficit. This article sheds light on the female Korean Chinese migrants’ engagement in care work in the ambiguous legal space of migration and the care labour market, and their changing roles in the process of development of the care labour market. Based on interviews with Korean Chinese migrants in South Korea, immigration statistics, and the Foreign Employment Survey in 2013, this study explores how the care regime intersects with migration in the process of the care regimes development.



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Social Policy and Society
  • ISSN: 1474-7464
  • EISSN: 1475-3073
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