Dissertation Abstracts

Demographic and Socio-economic Characteristics and Motivations for Migration among Mexicans in Australia: The Experience of New and Young Professionals

Author: Vazquez Maggio, M. Laura , vazquez.maggio@gmail.com
Department: Social Sciences
University: University of New South Wales, Australia
Supervisor: Dr. Alan Morris
Year of completion: 2013
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: international migrat , middle classes , cosmopolitanism , identity
Areas of Research: Migration , Social Classes and Social Movements , Labor Movements


Major economic changes in Mexico starting in the 1980s and intensifying in the 1990s, have had a significant impact on the lives of working class and middle class Mexicans. The central aim of the study is to analyse the migration of Mexicans to Australia. There has been no previous research on this topic. Almost all of the Mexicans who have migrated to Australia are middle class. Thus unlike most studies of Mexican migration which focus on the flight of the wealthy or the poor, this study has the middle class as its core focus. The middle class composition of these immigrants differentiates them from Mexican migration to the United States which tends to be dominated by unskilled and low-income households.

The study draws on an extensive questionnaire survey (nearly 20 per cent of adult Mexicans residents in Australia responded) and 30 in-depth interviews. I examine the reasons for immigrating and for choosing Australia; the reasons why some migrants may return to or move to another destination, and the forms and degrees to which they continue to be engaged with their country of origin. I investigate the extent to which Mexicans feel “at home” in Australia and the features that facilitate or hinder their integration in the spheres of work, family and friendships. The study also explores the ways in which Mexicans experience leaving Mexico and relocating to Australia, and also how their middle class professional identity gives them the capacity to become mobile, cross-cultural, and cosmopolitan and allows them to integrate both socially and economically.

The research found that this group of immigrants identify themselves as professionals, with white-collar jobs, university qualifications and English proficiency and are therefore able, with relative ease, to integrate into the mainstream of their host society. The study makes a contribution to the migration literature by addressing a new phenomenon of which we have very limited knowledge. The research identifies and examines a significant gap in migration studies – middle class migration. Hence, the investigation aims at providing comprehensive explanations as to what makes the immigration of middle class Mexicans to Australia a distinct phenomenon.

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