Contesting Transnational Mobility among New Zealand’s Chinese Migrants from an Economic Perspective


in Journal of Chinese Overseas
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


New Chinese migrants from the People’s Republic of China to New Zealand are renowned for their transnational mobility. Based on an online survey among this group of migrants, this paper aims to explore how economic factors in Chinese transnational migration play out in a way different from that posited by some conventional conceptions in migration studies. For example, compared with the conventional remittance flow that usually takes place from migrant-receiving countries to migrant-sending countries, this research finds a reverse remittance transaction channel among prc migrants. This reverse remittance flow is a manifestation of China’s economic revitalization, which benefited New Zealand, especially in the recent economic crisis. It was also found that economic reasons were not decisive in an immigrant’s decision to settle in New Zealand. However, economic reasons contributed significantly to their on-going movements after arriving in New Zealand. prc immigrants’ deciding to migrate or re-migrate reflects a layering of priorities that measure the short-term goal of maintaining economic livelihood against the longer-term goal of ensuring one’s family’s overall well-being.



BarberP.G. “Agency in Philippine women’s labour migration and provisional diaspora.” Women’s Studies International Forum 2000 23 4 399 411

BedfordR. “Reflections on the Spatial Odysseys of New Zealanders.” New Zealand Geographer 2001 57 49 54

BedfordR. “New Zealand: The Politicization of Immigration.” Migration Information Source: Migration Policy Institute 2003

BedfordR.HoE.LidgardJ. International Migration in New Zealand: Context, Components and Policy Issues 2000 Hamilton, New Zealand: Population Studies Centre, University of Waikato Discussion Papers No. 37

BiaoX. “Emigration from China: A Sending Country Perspective.” International Migration 2003 41 21 48

BordoM.HargreavesD.KidaM. “Global Shocks, Economic Growth and Financial Crises: 120 Years of New Zealand Experience.” Financial History Review 2011 18 3 331 355

BrownR. “Hidden Foreign Exchange Flows: Estimating Unofficial Remittances to Tonga and Western Samoa.” Asian and Pacific Migration Journal 1995 4 1 35 54

CastellsM. LeGatesR.T.StoutF. “The Reconstruction of Social Meaning in the Space of Flows.” In The City Reader 1996 London Routledge 493 498

Department of Labour, New Zealand Migration Trends & Outlook 2008/09 2009 Wellington Department of Labour, New Zealand

Department of Labour, New Zealand Migration Trend and Outlook 2010–2011 2011 Wellington Department of Labour, New Zealand

DurandJ.KandelW.ParradoE.A.MasseyD.S. “International Migration and Development in Mexican Communities.” Demography 1996 33 249 264

EngK.K. “Transnational Self in the Chinese Diaspora: A Conceptual Framework.” Asian Studies Review 2006 30 223 239

FaistT. “Transnationalization in International Migration: Implications for the Study of Citizenship and Culture.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 2000a 23 2 189 222

FaistT. The Volume and Dynamics of International Migration 2000b Oxford, UK Oxford University Press

GlickSchiller N.BaschL.Blanc-SzantonC. Glick-SchillerN.BaschL.Blanc-SzantonC. “Transnationalism: A New Analytic Framework for Understanding Migration: Race, Class, Ethnicity, and Nationalism Reconsidered.” In Towards A Transnational Perspective on Migration 1992 New York The New York Academy of Sciences 1 24

GlickSchiller N.BaschL.Blanc-SzantonC. “From Immigrant to Transmigrant Theorizing Transnational Migration.” Anthropological Quarterly 1995 68 1 48 63

HoE. IpM. “Reluctant Exiles or Roaming Transnationals? The Hong Kong Chinese in New Zealand.” In Unfolding History, Evolving Identity: The Chinese in New Zealand 2003 Auckland Auckland University Press 165 184

Immigration New Zealand “Immigration New Zealand Statistics,” 2015 accessed on 13 April 2015

IpM. GreifS.W. “Chinese New Zealanders: Old settlers and New Immigrants.” In Immigration and National Identity in New Zealand: One People, Two Peoples, Many Peoples? 1995 Palmerstone North, New Zealand The Dunmore Press Ltd. 161 199

IpM. “Returnees and Transnationals: Evolving Identities of Chinese (prc) Immigrants in New Zealand.” Journal of Population Studies 2006 no. 33 61 102

IpM. IpM. “Rethinking Contemporary Chinese Circulatory Transmigration The New Zealand Case.” In Transmigration and the New Chinese Theories and Practices from the New Zealand Experience 2011 Hong Kong The Centre of Asian Studies of the University of Hong Kong 21 56

KobayashiA.PrestontV. “Transnationalism through the Life Course: Hong Kong Immigrants in Canada.” Asia Pacific Viewpoint 2007 48 2 151 167

LiuL. “Home is Calling? Or Home is on the Move? Return Chinese Immigrants of New Zealand as Transnationals.” New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 2009 11 2 164 171

LiuL. IpM. “New Zealand Case Study of prc Transnational Migration Returnees and Trans-Tasman Migrants.” In Transmigration and the New Chinese: Theories and Practices from the New Zealand Experience 2011 Hong Kong The Centre of Asian Studies of the University of Hong Kong 57 101

LiuL. “A Search for a Place to Call Home: Negotiation of Home, Identity and Sense of Belonging Among New Migrants from the People’s Republic of China (prc) to New Zealand.” Emotion, Space and Society 2014 10 18 26

MasseyD.S.ArangoJ.HugoG.KouaouciA.PellegrinoA.TaylorJ.E. GuibernauM.RexJ. “Migration Theory, Ethnic Mobilization and Globalization.” In The Ethnicity Reader: Nationalism, Multiculturalism and Migration 1997 London Policy Press 257 269

MurphyL. “The Global Financial Crisis and the Australian and New Zealand Housing Markets.” Journal of Housing and the Built Environment 2011 26 335 351

NoniniD.M.OngA. OngA.NoniD.M. “Introduction: Chinese Transnationalism as an Alternative Modernity.” In Ungrounded Empires: The Cultural Politics of Modern Chinese Transnationalism 1997 New York Routledge 3 33

OngA. “On the Edge of Empires: Flexible Citizenship among Chinese in Diaspora.” Positions 1993 1 3 745 778

OrozcoM. Attracting Remittances: Market, Money and Reduced Costs 2002 Washington, DC Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank

PortesA. “Conclusion: Towards a New World — The Origins and Effects of Transnational Activities.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 1999a 22 463 476

PortesA. “Immigration Theory for a New Century: Some Problems and Opportunities.” International Migration Review 1999b 31 799 825

PortesA. “Introduction: The Debates and Significance of Immigrant Transnationalism.” Global Networks 2001 1 3 181 194

PortesA.GuarnizoL.E.LandoltP. “The Study of Transnationalism: Pitfalls and Promise of an Emergent Research Field.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 1999 22 2 217 237

PriesL. PriesL. “The Approach of Transnational Social Spaces: Responding to New Configurations of the Social and the Spatial.” In New Transnational Social Spaces 2001 London Routledge 3 33

SpoonleyP.MearesC.HoE.BedfordR. Attracting, Supporting and Retaining Skilled Migrants: Experiences of Recently Arrived British and South African Migrants 2010 [seminar presentation] 2009 [cited 2 October 2010]. Available from

Statistics New Zealand 2013 2013 Census Statistics New Zealand

VertovecS. “Migrant Transnationalism and Modes of Transformation.” International Migration Review 2004 38 3 970 1001


  • The top 16 countries (regions) of origin for New Zealand permanent residents. Only countries (regions) with more than 10,000 approvals are listed here.
    View in gallery
  • Main reasons for “settlers” and/or their families to stay in New Zealand.
    View in gallery
  • Main reasons for leaving New Zealand and returning to China.
    View in gallery
  • Main reasons for leaving New Zealand for a third destination.
    View in gallery
  • Main reasons for “commuters” choosing a commuting lifestyle.
    View in gallery


Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 17 17 9
Full Text Views 6 6 6
PDF Downloads 0 0 0
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0