Much of the migration scholarship tends to focus either on the migrant or on the left-behind families. In this dissertation, I seek to explore an understudied aspect of migration- the links between parental migration and the migration aspirations and employment trajectories of left-behind children. The analysis is based on in-depth interviews with Filipino migrant parents in London and their children left behind in the Philippines. The findings indicate that children of migrants are inclined to emulate the migratory behavior of their parents. Further, migrant parents exert effort to influence the employment aspirations and migration trajectories of their children left behind in the Philippines. However, broader social structures, such as lack of domestic employment opportunities and the state-sponsored labor export policy, are also instrumental in driving the left-behind children to follow in the footsteps of their migrant parents. Therefore, the irony is that, while parents struggle abroad to provide a better future for their left-behind children, the children also aspire to seek overseas employment in order to afford their parents a comfortable life upon retirement. Families consequently become dependent on migration, thereby, perpetuating a culture of migration in the Philippines.

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Title: ‘Should I stay or should I go too?’: Understanding the employment aspirations and migration trajectories of left-behind children in the Philippines
Researcher
: Maria Isabel D. Artajo