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Target earning/learning, settling or trampolining? Polish and Chinese immigrants in Ireland

Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain


This article provides a theoretical and an empirical analysis of the migration patterns and experiences of Chinese and Polish migrants in order to understand the human geography of these movements and the qualitative parameters and dimensions of contemporary migration into Ireland. Using theories of transnationalism, I argue that there are three general types of immigrant transnational orientations in the interviewees studied: target earners, target learners and trampoliners. Immigrant abilities to imagine a future in Ireland were shaped in large part by structural conditions such as: their visa status, race, gender and class backgrounds, the ability to move across borders freely, educational backgrounds and occupational skills. Their orientations were often expressed in terms of their communication with home, Ireland and many countries in between, through the use of digital media and technology.

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