Janet SALAFF (University of Toronto), Angela SHIK (University of Toronto), and Arent GREVE (Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration), Like Sons and Daughters of Hong Kong: The Return of the Young Generation, English/34 pages, April 2007.
In this paper, transnational youth voice what propels them to return to Hong Kong, what keeps them in Toronto, and sends them back and forth. There is global competition for skilled labor, and as a result, transnational migrants have become important resources. The term ˇ§transnationalˇ¨ refers to peopleˇ¦s connections between different global locations, as manifested in their personal moves, contacts, and flows of information. In this sense, transnationalism is a concrete embodiment of globalism. Our qualitative research studies 24 transnational young adults, whose parents migrated with their families from Hong Kong to Toronto (1985-1996) when they were ages 8-19). The parents maintained their connections with Hong Kong, some returned, some never left. Ten years after the Hand-over, it is their childrenˇ¦s turn: they have obtained overseas citizenship and education and are now facing choices of whether to work and live in Toronto, Hong Kong (or another locale, such as greater China). This paper analyses three sets of factors that contribute to the residency decisions being made by these youths: (1) Macro-level processes: the citizenship rights of this younger generation in two countries and how labour markets recognize their training, credentials, and experience; (2) Meso-level processes: the family, social networks, and organizations that create transnational contacts; (3) Micro-level processes: personal definitions of the situation that include their notion of home and identity. We explore the cross pressures on them to choose: a place, their kinship contacts, their own partners. Their social networks greatly influence their settlement decisions. Having roots in Hong Kong they are able to fit into society and find work there. Their choice to return balances the location of parents and partners. If both parents and partners are in the same locale, the youth tend to chose that place.