Migration and Diasporas
This paper considers the case of 'middling migrants' in Australia and Singapore through the conceptual lens of uncertainty. Current literature on middling migrants has contributed to understanding of migrants who are ‘wedged’ between the 'highly skilled' and 'low skilled' migrant workers. However, such understandings are often located around migrants' mid-level skills and their middle-class status. This paper aims to extend such theorization by examining the daily experiences of migrants from the Global South who have migrated to Australia and Singapore. Through locating such experiences in the immigration regimes in Australia and Singapore, this paper examines how uncertainty is constructed and how middling migrants interact with uncertainty. Uncertainty is closely linked to migrants’ temporariness: their temporary visa status, temporal working-class status such as working in a job one is overqualified for while seeking ‘professional’ work, and a sense of being temporarily ‘stuck’ between their and their families’ imaginaries and realities. I argue that their experience of ‘a middle space’ creates uncertainty; and that their uncertain imaginaries must be simultaneously located between the Global North and South. This project draws on in-depth interviews with twenty migrants in Australia and Singapore. It also proposes the method of utilising life mapping to 'track' the ‘turning-points’ of middling migrants' lives that provides a deeper understanding of uncertainty in migrants’ lives.