, Volume 81, Issue 2, pp 243–256 | Cite as

Family strategies in a neoliberal world: Korean immigrants in Winnipeg

  • Hyejin YoonEmail author


South Korean immigration to Canada has increased since the East Asian economic crisis of the late 1990s. Korean immigrants in Winnipeg chose the city for many reasons: the introduction of the Provincial Nominee Program, structural changes in the home country, and individual family strategies to provide better educational opportunities for their children. This article examines how changes in the current wave of globalization, at both global and local scale, have affected the migration of Koreans to Winnipeg, Canada and how individual households chose their immigration destination. This study contributes to understanding of the less popular immigrant destinations of Canada using a multiscalar analysis that includes household level. In addition to economic purposes and children’s education, changes of life style can be an important reason for immigrant location choice. Overall, the neoliberal economy in South Korea has pushed many Koreans to move to other countries, and the globalization of the Canadian economy has pulled nomadic middle-class members from other countries.


Immigration Globalization Neoliberalism Household South Korea Winnipeg, Canada 



The author would like to thank members of Emmanuel Korean Church in Winnipeg, Canada for the help to the survey, and Kristin Sziarto at University Wisconsin-Milwaukee for suggestions and comments.


  1. Abu-Laban, Y., & Garber, J. A. (2005). The construction of the geography of immigration as a policy problem: The United States and Canada compared. Urban Affairs Review, 40(4), 520–561.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Akbari, A. (2011). Labor market performance of immigrants in smaller regions of western countries: Some evidence from Atlantic Canada. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 12(2), 133–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baglay, S. (2012). Provincial nominee programs: A note on policy implications and future research needs. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 13(1), 121–141.Google Scholar
  4. Bookman, S., & Woolford, A. (2013). Policing (by) the urban brand: Defining order in Winnipeg’s exchange district. Social and Cultural Geography, 14(3), 300–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Borjas G. J. (2005). Native internal migration and the labor market impact of immigration. NBER working paper #11610. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  6. Brenner, N., Peck, J., & Theodore, N. (2010). Variegated neoliberalization: Geographies, modalities, pathways. Global Networks, 10(2), 182–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brenner, N., & Theodore, N. (2002). Cities and the geographies of? Actually existing neoliberalism? Antipode, 34(3), 349–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carter, T., Morrish, M., & Amoyaw, B. (2008). Attracting immigrants to smaller urban and rural communities: Lessons learned from the Manitoba provincial nominee program. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 9(2), 161–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carter, T., Pandey, M., & Townsend, J. (2010). The Manitoba provincial nominee program: Attraction, integration and retention of immigrants. (No. 10, 2010). Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institute for Research on Public Policy.Google Scholar
  10. Carter, T. S., Polevychok, C., & Osbborne, J. (2009). The role of housing and neighbourhood in the re-settlement process: A case study of refugee households in Winnipeg. Canadian Geographer, 53(3), 305–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chang, K. (2012). Economic development, democracy and citizenship politics in South Korea: The predicament of developmental citizenship. Citizenship Studies, 16(1), 29–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Choi, H. (2010). Religious institutions and ethnic entrepreneurship: The Korean church as a small business incubator. Economic Development Quarterly, 24(4), 372–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). (2011). Evaluation of the immigrant settlement and adaptation program. Retrieved from Accessed 11 Aug 2013.
  14. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). (2013). Facts and figures 2012. Retrieved from Accessed 11 Aug 2013.
  15. DeWind, J., Kim, E. M., Skeldon, R., & Yoon, I. (2012). Korean development and migration. Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies, 38(3), 371–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Elliot, L. (2011). Immigration shifts west from Ontario. CBC. Retrieved from Accessed 11 Aug 2013.
  17. Finch, J., & Kim, S. (2012). Kirogi families in the US: Transnational migration and education. Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies, 38(3), 485–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Florida, R. L. (2012). The rise of the creative class: Revisited. New York, NY: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  19. Froschauer, K. (2001). East Asian and European entrepreneur immigrants in British Columbia, Canada: Post-migration conduct and pre-migration context. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 27(2), 225–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Grant, J. L., & Buckwold, B. (2013). Precarious creativity: immigrant cultural workers. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 6(1), 113–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Grubel, H. G., Robson, W., Gallagher, S., Bisset, J., & Mansur, S., et al. (2009). The effects of mass migration. Vancouver: Fraser Institute. ISBN: 978-0-88975-246-7. Retrieved from Accessed 30 Oct 2014.
  22. Hiebert, D. (2002). The spatial limits to entrepreneurship: Immigrant entrepreneurs in Canada. Tijdschrift Voor Economische En Sociale Geografie, 93(2), 173–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hiebert, D. (2006). Winning, losing, and still playing the game: The political economy of immigration in Canada. Tijdschrift Voor Economische En Sociale Geografie, 97(1), 38–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hiebert, D., & Ley, D. (2006). Introduction: The political economy of immigration. Tijdschrift Voor Economische En Sociale Geografie, 97(1), 1–4.Google Scholar
  25. Jones, S. (2004). Canada and the globalized immigrant. American Behavioral Scientist, 47(10), 1263–1277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kelley, N., & Trebilcock, M. J. (2010). The making of the mosaic: A history of Canadian immigration policy. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  27. Kim, W. (2010). Simultaneous transitions: Democratization, neoliberalization, and possibilities for class compromise in South Korea. Review of Radical Political Economics, 42(4), 505–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kwak, M. (2013). Rethinking the neoliberal nexus of education, migration, and institutions. Environment and Planning A, 45(8), 1858–1872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kwak, M., & Hiebert, D. (2010). Globalizing Canadian education from below: A case study of transnational immigrant entrepreneurship between Seoul, Korea and Vancouver, Canada. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 11(2), 131–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Leo, C., & Brown, W. (2000). Slow growth and urban development policy. Journal of Urban Affairs, 22(2), 193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lewis, N. M. (2010). A decade later: Assessing successes and challenges in Manitoba’s provincial immigrant nominee program. Canadian Public Policy, 36(2), 241–264.Google Scholar
  32. Ley, D. (2003). Seeking homo economicus: The Canadian state and the strange story of the business immigration program. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 93(2), 426–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ley, D. (2006). Explaining variations in business performance among immigrant entrepreneurs in Canada. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 32(5), 743–764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ley, D. (2008). The immigrant church as an urban service hub. Urban Studies, 45(10), 2057–2074.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ley, D. (2013). Does transnationalism trump immigrant integration? Evidence from Canada’s links with East Asia. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 39(6), 921–938.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lindsay, C. (2001). The Korean community in Canada. Retrieved from Accessed 27 Aug 2014.
  37. Mahroum, S. (2001). Europe and the immigration of highly skilled labour. International Migration, 39(5), 27–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Manitoba Department of Labour and Immigration (MDLI). (2012). Manitoba immigration facts- 2011 statistical report. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Province of Manitoba. Retrieved from Accessed 7 July 2014.
  39. Mitchell, K. (2003). Educating the national citizen in neoliberal times: From the multicultural self to the strategic cosmopolitan. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 28(4), 387–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ong, A. (1993). On the edge of empires: Flexible citizenship among Chinese in diaspora. Positions, 1(3), 745–778.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Pandey, M., & Townsend, J. (2011). Quantifying the effects of the provincial nominee programs. Canadian Public Policy, 37(4), 495–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Park, J. (2012). A demographic profile of Koreans in Canada. In M. Noh, A. Kim, & M. Noh (Eds.), Korean immigrants in Canada: Perspectives on migration, integration, and the family (pp. 19–34). Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  43. Partridge, M. D., Rickman, D. S., & Ali, K. (2008). Recent immigration and economic outcomes in rural America. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 90(5), 1326–1333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Picot, G. (2004). The deteriorating economic welfare of Canadian immigrants. Canadian Journal of Urban Research, 13(1), 25–45.Google Scholar
  45. Piller, I., & Cho, J. (2013). Neoliberalism as language policy. Language in Society, 42(1), 23–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Popke, J., & Torres, R. M. (2013). Neoliberalization, transnational migration, and the varied landscape of economic subjectivity in the Totonacapan region of Veracruz. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 103(1), 211–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Ray, D. M., Lamarche, R. H., & Beaudin, M. (2012). Economic growth and restructuring in Canada’s heartland and hinterland: From shift-share to multifactor partitioning. The Canadian Geographer, 56(3), 296–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Reese, L. A. (2012). Immigration and the economic health of Canadian cities. Environment and Planning C-Government and Policy, 30(2), 297–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Shin, H. (2011). Spatial capability for understanding gendered mobility for Korean Christian immigrant women in Los Angeles. Urban Studies, 48(11), 2355–2373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Silvey, R. (2004). Power, difference and mobility: Feminist advances in migration. Progress in Human Geography, 28(4), 490–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Silvey, R. (2009). Development and geography: Anxious times, anemic geographies, and migration. Progress in Human Geography, 33(4), 607–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Smith, H., & Ley, D. (2008). Even in Canada? The multiscalar construction and experience of concentrated immigrant poverty in gateway cities. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 98(3), 686–713.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Statistics Canada. (2011). Immigration admitted and number planned by category according to the immigration plan, Canada, 2008. Retrieved from Accessed 16 Aug 2013.
  54. Tannock, S. (2011). Points of prejudice: Education-based discrimination in Canada’s immigration system. Antipode, 43(4), 1330–1356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Teixeira, C. (2007). Immigrant entrepreneurship, institutional discrimination, and implications for public policy: a case study in Toronto. Environment and Planning C-Government and Policy, 26(2), 176–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Walsh, J. P. (2011). Quantifying citizens: Neoliberal restructuring and immigrant selection in Canada and Australia. Citizenship Studies, 15(6–7), 861–879.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Walsh, J. P. (2012). Mass migration and the mass society: Fordism, immigration policy and the post-war long boom in Canada and Australia, 1947–1970. Journal of Historical Sociology, 25(3), 352–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Waters, J. L. (2006). Geographies of cultural capital: Education, international migration and family strategies between Hong Kong and Canada. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 31(2), 179–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Waters, J. L. (2012). The socio-spatial fragmentation of higher education: Some unexpected consequences of internationalisation. Geoforum, 43(5), A1–A3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Williams, A. M. (2007). International labour migration and tacit knowledge transactions: A multi-level perspective. Global Networks, 7(1), 29–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wulff, M., Carter, T., & Vineberg, R. (2008). Special issues: Attracting new arrivals to smaller cities and rural communities: Findings from Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 9(2), 119–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Xu, L. (2011). Inter-metropolitan migration of the newly landed immigrants in Canada: 1991–1996 and 1996–2001. GeoJournal, 76(5), 501–524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Yoon, I. (2012). Migration and the Korean diaspora: A comparative description of five cases. Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies, 38(3), 413–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeMilwaukeeUSA

Personalised recommendations