The Commission on the Status of Women underlines the value and dignity of migrant women’s labour in all sectors, including the labour of domestic and care workers. While migrant women perform all of the types of work listed above, they tend to be heavily concentrated in occupations traditionally associated with specific gender roles. The gender segregation of labour markets affects the types of work available and the ways in which demand for foreign workers is recognized and calculated by destination country governments.

Despite the existence of increasing demand for feminized migrant labour in domestic and care work, this does not always translate into regular pathways for women to migrate in response to the actual demand. Gender differences in access to regular migration channels may lead greater numbers of women than men to become undocumented, migrate irregularly, and/or risk being trafficked. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of women migrant workers’ contributions in health care. While migration pathways are being made available for nurses and doctors, the international migration of these workers could compound health workforce shortages in countries of origin. See, for example, this storymap on global nurse migration pathways to Canada.

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