‘Half of Myself Belongs to This Town’: Conditional Belongings of Temporary Migrants in Regional Australia

Migration, Mobility, & Displacement, Vol. 3(1), p. 51-69, 2017

Posted: 27 Oct 2017

See all articles by Martina Boese

Martina Boese

La Trobe University

Melissa Phillips

University of Melbourne - School of Social and Political Sciences; New York University (NYU) - Center on International Cooperation

Date Written: July 2017

Abstract

A growing number of temporary visa holders reside in regional Australia, from skilled temporary visa holders to international students at regional university campuses and Working Holiday visa holders. Many of these residents spend prolonged periods of time in regional locations, often alongside groups with other migration and refugee backgrounds, and many hold permanent residency aspirations. This paper contributes to recent scholarship on affective citizenship and place-based belonging through an investigation of the social, cultural and legal dimensions of temporary migrants’ sense of belonging in regional communities. Our analysis of qualitative interviews with regional residents on different temporary visas and local employers and service providers shows that many temporary residents in regional locations develop a feeling of place-based belonging grounded in social relations and shared cultural affiliations as well as the efforts of local stakeholders who are keen to retain migrants in the location. Yet the rights restrictions associated with temporary visas tend to diminish such feelings of belonging and further exacerbate feelings of tenuous belonging for those migrants who are lacking place-based social or cultural connections. We conclude that the multidimensional nature of belonging deserves more attention in the current context of policies that are on the one hand promoting the regional settlement of temporary migrants, whilst on the other hand excluding these migrants from most social rights granted to other taxpayers.

Keywords: Regional Settlement, Belonging, Regional Migration, Refugees, Migrants Australia

JEL Classification: I14, J61

Suggested Citation

Boese, Martina and Phillips, Melissa, ‘Half of Myself Belongs to This Town’: Conditional Belongings of Temporary Migrants in Regional Australia (July 2017). Migration, Mobility, & Displacement, Vol. 3(1), p. 51-69, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3060065

Martina Boese (Contact Author)

La Trobe University ( email )

Department of Social Inquiry
Bundoora, 3086
Australia

Melissa Phillips

University of Melbourne - School of Social and Political Sciences ( email )

Level 4, John Medley Building
Melbourne, VIC 3010
Australia

New York University (NYU) - Center on International Cooperation ( email )

726 Broadway
Suite 543
New York, NY 10003
United States

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