• Rosie RobertsEmail author


The introductory chapter examines the value of viewing Australia as a single site within a range of transnational connections. Until recently, Australian migration research and policy has been concerned with what Ley and Kobayashi (2005, p. 112) describe as the traditional migration narrative of ‘departure, arrival and settlement’. Instead, this book argues for a more expansive understanding of Australia within global migration flows, which recognises the experience of contemporary migration as a complex matrix of interactions and connections over time and space, rather than linear and permanent migration. This research began as an exploration of skilled migration. However, as the research progressed and the lives of those interviewed unfolded, it became clear that being a ‘skilled migrant’ was just one categorization that they occupied over their lives and often through a series of migrations. However, with skilled migration as my starting point, I begin this chapter with an analysis of theoretical and empirical research in this field, to problematize the labour driven perspectives of this migrant classification. I argue that there is a need to separate the conceptualisation of skilled migrants as those who engage in official labour channels from people who embody the concept of skills but migrate in other ways, such as spouses and family-sponsored migrants who are not recognised in a country’s official skilled migration statistics. When differences among skilled migrants are often as great as the distinctions between skilled and unskilled, there is a need for more empirical research that recognises and investigates this diversity by attending to the everyday, affective and embodied experiences of these migrants over their lives. A longitudinal and biographical approach to the study of migration brings together spatial, temporal and relational frames, through which to understand the often messy, and evolving experiences of resettlement and belonging.


Temporary migration Skilled migration Middling transnationalism Australia Spatiality Temporality 


  1. ABS Australia Bureau of Statistics. (2012). Feature article: International movements—2012. Retrieved November 18, 2017 from
  2. ABS Australia Bureau of Statistics. (2016). Census QuickStats. Retrieved July 20, 2017 from
  3. AIATSIS, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. (2017). Indigenous Australian Languages. Retrieved January 12, 2018 from
  4. Amnesty International. (2016). Australia: Appalling abuse, neglect of refugees on Nauru. Retrieved February 20, 2016 from
  5. Ang, I., & Stratton, J. (1998). Multiculturalism in crisis: The new politics of race and national identity in Australia. TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, 2, 22–41.Google Scholar
  6. Ang, I., & Stratton, J. (2001). Multiculturalism in crisis: The new politics of race and national identity in Australia. In I. Ang (Ed.), On not speaking Chinese: Living between Asia and the West (pp. 95–111). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Appadurai, A. (2009). The shifting ground from which we speak. In J. Kenway & J. Fahey (Eds.), Globalizing the research imagination (pp. 41–52). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Appleyard, R. (1991). International migration: Challenge for the nineties. Geneva: IOM.Google Scholar
  9. Axhausen, P., Urry, P., & Larsen, P. J. (2012). Mobilities, networks, geographies. Hampshire, England: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.Google Scholar
  10. Baas, M. (2018). The mobile middle: Indian skilled migrants in Singapore and the ‘middling’ space between migration categories. Transitions: Journal of Transient Migration, 1(1), 47.Google Scholar
  11. Bakhtin, M. (1981). In M. Holquist (Ed.), The dialogic imagination: Four essays. Texas: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  12. Banfield, S. (no date). Australians abroad: Preliminary findings on the Australian diaspora. Retrieved January 14, 2018 from
  13. Bauman, Z. (2000). Liquid modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  14. Beaverstock, J. (2002). Transnational elites in global cities: British expatriates in Singapore’s financial district. Geoforum, 33(4), 525–538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Beaverstock, J., & Boardwell, J. (2000). Negotiating globalization, transnational corporations and global city financial centres in transient migration studies. Applied Geography, 20(3), 277–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Beaverstock, J., & Smith, R. (1996). Lending jobs to global cities: Skilled international labour migration, investment banking and the city of London. Urban Studies, 33(8), 1377–1394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Benson, M., & O’Reilly, K. (2016). Lifestyle migration—Expectations, aspirations and experiences. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  18. Bernstein, J., & Shuval, T. (1995). Occupational continuity and change among immigrant physicians from the former Soviet Union in Israel. International Migration, 33, 3–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Blainey, G. (1984). All for Australia. Sydney: Methuen Haynes.Google Scholar
  20. Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A social critique of the judgment of taste. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Bruner, J. (2003). Making stories: Law, literature and life. Massachusetts, USA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Castells, M. (2000). Towards a sociology of the network society. Contemporary Sociology, 29(5), 693–699.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Castles, S. (2002). Migration and community formation under conditions of globalization. International Migration Review, 36(4), 1143–1168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Castles, S., Cope, B., Kalantzis, M., & Morrissey, M. (1988). Mistaken identity: Multiculturalism and the demise of nationalism in Australia. Sydney: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  25. Chase, S. (2005). Narrative inquiry: Multiple lenses, approaches, voices. In N. Denzine & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of qualitative research (pp. 651–679). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  26. Cohen, S., Duncan, T., & Thulemark, M. (2015). Lifestyle mobilities: The crossroads of travel, leisure and migration. Mobilities, 10(1), 155–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Collins, J. (2017). From refugee to entrepreneur in Sydney in less than three years: Final evaluation report on the SSI Ignite Small Business Start-Ups Program. Sydney: UTS Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Research Centre.Google Scholar
  28. Conradson, D., & Latham, A. (2005). Transnational urbanism: Attending to everyday practices and mobilities. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 31(2), 227–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Conradson, D., & Latham, A. (2007). The affective possibilities of London: Antipodean transnationals and the overseas experience. Mobilities, 2(2), 231–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Cormode, L. (1994). Japanese foreign direct investment and the circulation of personnel from Japan to Canada. In W. T. S. Gould & A. M. Findlay (Eds.), Population migration and the changing world order (pp. 67–89). London: Wiley.Google Scholar
  31. de Certeau, M. (1984). The practice of everyday life. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  32. DIAC Department of Immigration and Citizenship. (2009). Chapter 6: The economics of migration. Retrieved March 14, 2009 from
  33. DIAC Department of Immigration and Citizenship. (2010). Population flows, immigration aspects report. Retrieved September 3, 2015 from
  34. DIAC Department of Immigration and Citizenship. (2012). The outlook for net overseas migration: June 2012 report. Retrieved January 14, 2018 from
  35. DIBP Department of Immigration and Border Protection. (2014). Discussion paper: Reviewing the skilled migration and 400 series visa programmes. Retrieved January 16, 2018 from
  36. Dunn, K. (2010). Guest editorial. Embodied transnationalism: Bodies in transnational spaces. Population, Space and Place, 16(1), 1–9.Google Scholar
  37. Dustmann, C. (2000). Temporary migration and economic assimilation. IZA Discussion Paper Series, No. 186.Google Scholar
  38. Fahey, J., & Kenway, J. (2010). International academic mobility: Problematic and possible paradigms. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 31(5), 563–575.Google Scholar
  39. Fan, C. (2002). The elite, the natives, and the outsiders: Migration and labor market segmentation in urban China. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 92(1), 103–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Favell, A., Feldblum, M., & Smith, M. (2007). The human face of global mobility: A research agenda. Transaction Social Science and Modern Society, 44(2), 15–25.Google Scholar
  41. Findlay, A., & Garrick, L. (1990). Scottish emigration in the 1980s: A migration channels approach to the study of skilled international migration. Institute of British Geographers Transactions, 15, 177–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Findlay, A., & Li, F. (1998). A migration channels approach to the study of professionals moving to and from Hong Kong. International Migration Review, 32(3), 682–703.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Findlay, A., Li, F., Jowett, A., & Skeldon, R. (1996). Skilled international migration and the global city: A study of expatriates in Hong Kong. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 21(1), 49–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Fullilove, F. (2005). They still call Australia home: Inquiry into Australian expatriates. Canberra: Legal and Constitutional References Committee. Retrieved March 14, 2010 from
  45. Fullilove, M., & Flutter, C. (2004). Diaspora: The world wide web of Australians. Double Bay, NSW: Longueville.Google Scholar
  46. Gardner, K. (2006). The transnational work of kinship and caring: Bengali–British marriages in historical perspective. Global Networks, 6(4), 373–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Hage, G. (2002). Multiculturalism and white paranoia in Australia. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 3(3–4), 417–437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Hannam, K. (2008). Tourism geographies, tourist studies and the turn towards mobilities. Geography Compass, 2(1), 127–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Hannam, K., Sheller, M., & Urry, J. (2006). Editorial: Mobilities, immobilities and moorings. Mobilities, 1(1), 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Hannerz, U. (1996). Transnational connections: Culture, people, places. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  51. Hanson, P. (1996). Pauline Hanson’s maiden speech to parliament. Retrieved September 2, 2013 from
  52. Hawthorne, L. (2010a). Demography, migration and demand for international students. In C. Findlay & W. Tierney (Eds.), Globalization and tertiary education in the Asia–Pacific: The changing nature of a dynamic market (pp. 91–120). Singapore: World Scientific Press.Google Scholar
  53. Hawthorne, L. (2010b). How valuable is “Two-Step Migration”? Labor market outcomes for international students migrants to Australia. Asian and Pacific Migration Journal, 19(1), 5–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Ho, E. (2011). Migration trajectories of ‘highly skilled’ middling transnationals: Singaporean transmigrants in London. Population, Space and Place, 17(1), 116–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Hoang, K. (2016). Explainer: What is Australia’s ‘points system’ for immigration. The Conversation. Retrieved January 16, 2018 from
  56. Hollinsworth, D. (2016). Unsettling Australian settler supremacy: Combating resistance in university Aboriginal studies. Race, Ethnicity and Education, 19(2), 412–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Home Affairs. (2014–2015). Australia’s migration programme—Country ranking 2014–15, Home Affairs Office. Retrieved January 10, 2018
  58. Hugo, G. (2006). An Australian diaspora. International Migration, 44(1), 105–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Hugo, G., Rudd, D., & Harris, K. (2001). Emigration from Australia, economic implications. Melbourne: CEDA.Google Scholar
  60. Hugo, G., Rudd, D., & Harris, K. (2003a). Australia’s diaspora: Its size, nature and policy implications. CEDA Information Paper, No. 80, Committee for Economic Development.Google Scholar
  61. Hugo, G., Khoo, S. E., McDonald, P., & Voigt-Graf, C. (2003b). Temporary skilled migration to Australia: The 457 visa sub-class. People and Place, 11(4), 27–40.Google Scholar
  62. Iredale, R. (2001). The migration of professionals: Theories and typologies. International Migration, 39(5), 7–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Jakubowicz, A. (2002). White noise: Australia’s struggle with multiculturalism. In C. Levine-Rasky (Ed.), Working through whiteness: International perspectives (pp. 107–126). Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  64. Khoo, S., Hugo, G., & McDonald, P. (2008). Which skilled migrants become permanent resident and why? International Migration Review, 42(1), 193–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Kim, T. (2010). Transnational academic mobility, knowledge, and identity capital. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 31(5), 577–591.Google Scholar
  66. Knight, M. (2011). Strategic review of the student visa program 2011 reports. Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Retrieved May 10, 2012 from
  67. Kobayashi, A., & Preston, V. (2007). Transnationalism through the life course: Hong Kong immigrants in Canada. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 48(2), 151–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Kofman, E., & Raghuram, P. (2005). Gender and skilled migrations: Into and beyond the work place. Geoforum, 36(2), 149–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Kofman, E. & Raghuram, P. (2009). Skilled female labour migration. Hamburg: Hamburg Institute of International EconomicsGoogle Scholar
  70. Koser, K., & Salt, J. (1997). The geography of highly skilled international migration. International Migration Review, 31(3), 591–611.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Ley, D., & Kobayashi, A. (2005). Back to Hong Kong: Return migration or transnational sojourn? Global Networks, 5, 111–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Mares, P. (2016). Not quite Australian: How temporary migration is changing a nation. Melbourne: Text Publishing.Google Scholar
  73. Mares, P. (2018). All work, no stay?: Is the ideal of Australia as a nation of permanent settlement giving way to a new reality of Australia as a guest-worker society? Retrieved August 18, 2018 from
  74. Markus, A. (1994). Australian race relations 1788–1993. Sydney: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  75. May, J., Wills, J., Datta, K., Evans, Y., Herbert, J., & McIIwaine, C. (2007). Keeping London working: Global cities, the British state and London’s new migrant division of labour. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 32(2), 151–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. McDowell, L., Batnitzky, A., & Dyer, S. (2008). Internationalization and the spaces of temporary labour: The global assembly of local workforce. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 46(4), 750–770.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Meeus, B. (2012). How to ‘Catch’ floating populations? Research and the fixing of migration in space and time. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 35(10), 1775–1793.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Millar, J., & Salt, J. (2008). Portfolios of mobility: The movement of expertise in transnational corporations in two sectors—Aerospace and extractive industries. Global Networks, 8, 25–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Nagel, C. (2005). Skilled migration in global cities from ‘Other’ perspectives: British Arabs, identity politics, and local embededdness. Geoforum, 36, 197–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Owens, A. (2011). Visa regulations have ‘perverse’ effects on student choices. Retrieved December 25, 2012 from
  81. Pakulski, J. (2014). Confusions about multiculturalism. Journal of Sociology, 50(1), 23–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Papademetriou, D., & Yale-Loehr, S. (1996). Balancing interests: Rethinking US selection of skilled immigrants. Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.Google Scholar
  83. Phillips, J. (2017). A comparison of Coalition and Labor government asylum policies in Australia since 2001. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved December 19, 2017 from
  84. Phillips, J., & Spinks, H. (2011). Boat arrivals in Australia since 1976. Homepage of the Parliament of Australia, Social Policy Section. Retrieved March 14, 2013–2012/BoatArrivals#_Toc285178607.
  85. Pratsinakis, M., Hatziprokopiou, P., & King, R. (2017). Beyond migration binaries and linear transitions: The complexification of Greece’s migratory landscape at times of crisis. Working Paper No. 92. Sussex, UK: Sussex Centre for Migration Research.Google Scholar
  86. Raghuram, P., & Kofman, E. (2002). The state, skilled labour markets, and immigration: The case of doctors in England. Environment and Planning A, 34, 2071–2089.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Ricoeur, P. (1984). Time and narrative (K. McLaughlin & D. Pellauer, Trans.) (Vol. 2). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  88. Riessman, C. (2008). Narrative methods for the human sciences. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  89. Riessman, C. K. (2002). Analysis of personal narratives. In J. A. Gubrium & J. F. Holstein (Eds.). Handbook of interview research (pp. 695–710). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  90. Roberts, R. (2018). ‘Travelling Memories’: The homemaking practices of skilled mobile settlers. In S. Marschall (Ed.), Memory, migration and travel (pp. 24–44). Oxon and New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Robertson, S. (2013). Transnational student-migrants and the state: The education-migration nexus. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Robertson, S. (2014). Time and temporary migration: The case of temporary graduate workers and working holiday makers in Australia. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 40(12), 1915–1933.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Robertson, S., Harris, A., & Baldassar, L. (2018). Mobile transitions: A conceptual framework for researching a generation on the move. Journal of Youth Studies, 21(2), 203–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Robinson, V., & Carey, M. (2000). Peopling skilled international migration: Indian doctors in the UK. International Migration, 38(1), 89–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Rutten, M., & Verstappen, S. (2014). Middling migration: Contradictory experiences of Indian youth in London. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 40(8), 1217–1235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Ryan, L., & Mulholland, J. (2014). Trading places: French highly skilled migrants negotiating mobility and emplacement in London. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 40(4), 584–600.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Ryan, L., Sales, R., Tilki, M., & Siara, B. (2009). Family strategies and transnational migration: Recent polish migrants in London. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 35(1), 61–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Salt, J., & Singleton, A. (1995). The international migration of expertise: The case of the United Kingdom. Stuzi Emigrazione, 117, 12–29.Google Scholar
  99. Sassen, S. (1994). Cities in a world economy. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  100. Sassen, S. (2001). Global networks, linked cities. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  101. Schuster, L. (2005). The continuing mobility of migrants in Italy: Shifting between places and statuses. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 31, 757–774.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. Shelley, T. (2007). Exploited: Migrant labour in the new global economy. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  103. Skrbis, Z. (2008). Transnational families: Theorising migration, emotions and belonging. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 29(3), 231–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Smith, M., & Favell, A. (2006). The human face of global mobility: International highly skilled migration in Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific. Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  105. Stratton, J. (1999). Multiculturalism and the whitening machine, or how Australians become white. In G. Hage & R. Couch (Eds.), The future of Australian multiculturalism (pp. 163–188). Sydney: University of Sydney Press.Google Scholar
  106. Syed, J. (2008). Employment prospects for skilled migrants: A relational perspective. Human Resource Management Review, 18, 28–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  107. Taylor, P. (2004). World city network: A global urban analysis. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  108. Tomlinson, J. (1999). Globalisation and culture. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  109. Urry, J. (2005). The complexities of the global. Theory, Culture & Society, 22(5), 235–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  110. Urry, J. (2007). Mobilities. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  111. van der Velde, M., & van Naerssen, T. (2011). People, borders, trajectories: An approach to cross-border mobility and immobility in and to the European Union. Area, 43, 218–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  112. Volosinov, V. (1973). Marxism and the philosophy of language. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  113. Watson, M. (2016). Manus Island detention: Asylum seekers offered ‘huge amounts of money’ to go home, activist, say. ABC News. Retrieved February 22, 2017 from
  114. Williams, A., & Hall, C. (2000). Tourism and migration: New relationships between production and consumption. Tourism Geographies: An International Journal of Tourism Space, Place and Environment, 2(1), 5–27.Google Scholar
  115. Willis, K., & Yeoh, B. (2002). Gendering transnational communities: A comparison of Singaporean and British migrants in China. Geoforum, 33(4), 553–565.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  116. Yeoh, B. S. A., & Huang, S. (2000). “Home” and “away”: Foreign domestic workers and negotiations of diasporic identity in Singapore. Women’s Studies International Forum, 23(4), 413–429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  117. Yeoh, B. S. A., & Huang, S. (2011). Introduction: Fluidity and friction in talent migration. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 37(5), 681–690.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  118. Yuval-Davis, F. (2011). The politics of belonging: Intersectional contestations. London: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Creative IndustriesUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

Personalised recommendations