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Inter-European Social Workers’ Mobility within a Dynamic Social Work and Immigration Policy Context: A case study of England

Social workers are increasingly globally mobile, pursuing employment opportunities that combine professional and lifestyle projects. Social work skills and practice are embedded in cultural, linguistic and nation-specific legislative competencies. The current article engages with the interplay of a fast-moving social work and immigration policy context and the role of inter-European social workers, using England as a case study of destination. Based on registration data of non-UK qualified social workers (2003–2017), a survey of 97 stakeholders from 27 European Union countries and focus group discussions, it investigates trends and challenges of transnational social workers (TSWs) in England. The findings highlight a dynamic process of social work education and immigration policy reforms during the past decade that was associated with a significant change in the volume and profile of TSWs registered to work in England. Data from European stakeholders further highlight two key findings: first, there is evidence of an increased role of inter-European social workers in most of Western European countries; second, the process of social work qualifications’ recognition within Europe remains considerably variable. The implications of the findings are discussed within the context of continued inter-European policy and political changes.


Published 2019-01-22