The Effects of Transnational Mobility on Youth Transitions

 Project Overview

Young people increasingly migrate abroad for work and education, and Australia is a significant hub for sending and receiving. Migration and education policies encourage this mobility, which is expected to provide youth with enhanced life chances and competitive skills. However, very little research examines its effects on young people’s transitions: that is, its impact on their establishment of ongoing social and familial ties, capacity for engaged citizenship and sustained belonging, and efforts to make adult identities and imagine and enact longer term plans and life trajectories.

This project thus investigates how transnational mobility affects young people’s ability to not only achieve desirable qualifications and livelihoods, but to be connected and engaged in their social and civic worlds as these become more dispersed spatially and less predictable temporally. It suggests that youth and migrancy are no longer straightforward states of transition, and proposes that old frameworks of sequential passaging towards adulthood and settlement need to be rethought with conceptual tools that can capture more complex and less fixed routes that characterise young lives on the move.

Through a longitudinal study of young people of British, Chinese, Indian and Italian heritage who are both Australian-born and –bound, and supported by a digital database and biographical case studies, the project explores how youth from various cultural backgrounds manage mobility and develop economic, social and civic benefits for themselves and the broader community. It develops new conceptual and methodological tools to help us understand how young people can be supported to maximise opportunities for secure and sustainable livelihoods, strong social networks and engaged citizenship in conditions of mobility.

Project Team

Associate Professor Loretta Baldassar, UWA 

Dr Shanthi Robertson, WSU

Project Funding

This project is funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant Scheme: DP170100180