Mainland Chinese grandparenting migration as middling transnationalism : Family, life stage and lifecourse

Elaine Lynn-Ee HO, Tuen Yi CHIU

Research output: Book Chapters | Papers in Conference ProceedingsBook ChapterResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The experiences of older migrants remain under-researched but the way they journey between sending/receiving societal contexts is deserving of academic and policy attention. We focus on older migrants from the Mainland China (henceforth PRC grandparenting migrants) who move temporarily to Singapore and Australia to provide care for grandchildren. In both countries the productive labour of the young Chinese migrants needs to be sustained through reproductive work. As such, thousands of Chinese grandparents embarked on transnational journeys to Singapore or Australia to provide care for their grandchildren. The two countries also adopt a “managed migration” approach that stratifies migrants by their desirability and restricts family reunification, making it challenging for grandparenting migrants to qualify for long term residency to remain with their children abroad. We carried out in-depth interviews with 72 grandparenting migrants in Singapore (41) and Sydney (31). Our chapter provides a comparative analysis of how PRC grandparenting migrants adjust to life and care work in a foreign country, as well as how they envision their ageing futures in a trans-territorial context. The focus that we bring to older adult migrants who move for grandparenting duties in the reproductive sphere addresses an important gap in extant analyses of middling transnationalism, which has focused mainly on younger migrants who engage in paid work. Our chapter further considers the transnational social fields that PRC grandparenting migrants inhabit, and the lifecourse implications of personal migration and their children’s migration on how they strategise for old age back in China or in a foreign country.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRethinking Privilege and Social Mobility in Middle-Class Migration : Migrants 'in-Between'
EditorsShanthi ROBERTSON, Rosie ROBERTS
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781000567663
ISBN (Print)9781000567663, 9780367535001
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2022

Publication series

NameStudies in Migration and Diaspora

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 selection and editorial matter, Shanthi Robertson and Rosie Roberts; individual chapters, the contributors.


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