Grandparenting migration: Reproduction, care circulations and care ethics across borders

In the context of the One-Child policy in Mainland China, Chinese families which had sent their only child to study abroad are now witnessing their children transition into working life and start their own families overseas. Other young Chinese adults pursued better life opportunities by seeking careers in foreign destinations independently. Singapore and Sydney are two popular destinations for young Chinese families to settle abroad, prompted partly by immigration policies that are aimed at renewing those countries’ own labour force and reproductive capacities. However, young Chinese parents struggle to balance their work and childcare duties abroad. Their parents travel between China and Singapore/Sydney to provide childcare help (i.e. grandparenting migrants). Grandparenting migrants use a range of visas and spatial strategies as the immigration countries exercise restrictive policies towards elderly persons. The transnational care circulations in which they are embedded raise concerns over their eldercare needs later in life since their children intend to remain overseas, disrupting traditional expectations of eldercare in Chinese families. The migration trends described above link population concerns in China to those of the countries where younger migrants have settled, creating multi-generational and transnational care circulations as well as new questions for care responsibilities and care ethics across national contexts.