“The Impact of Immigrants’ Transnational Ties with their Home Countries in South Korea”

31st January 2024
  • The last lecture of Research Forum “Labor, Mobility and Migration of (East) Asia” at the Institute of East Asian Studies (IN-EAST) in University of Duisburg-Essen. Dr. Sou Hyun Jang (Korea University) will give the presentation entitled “The Impact of Immigrants’ Transnational Ties with their Home Countries in South Korea” on 31st January 2024, 4pm (CET) hybrid.
  • The lecture venue will be LE 736, IN-EAST University of Duisburg-Essen, Forsthausweg, 47057 Duisburg.

You can also join this lecture via Zoom (registration).

Look forward to seeing you all!



The development of technology has enabled recent immigrants to be more connected with their home country after international migration. While numerous studies examine various aspects of immigrants' transnational ties with their home countries, including political activities (e.g., voting in home country elections), economic contributions (e.g., sending remittances), social connections (e.g., maintaining contact with family and friends), cultural engagement (e.g., consuming cultural content exported from the home country), and medical practices (e.g., seeking medical treatment in the home country), the predominant focus has been on transnational ties among immigrants in Western countries. "The East Asian context remains underexplored in transnationalism literature, and I aim to address this gap by examining the frequency of social transnational ties, which is closely related to other fields of transnational ties, and its impact on the health of various immigrant groups in South Korea, a country transitioning into an immigrant-receiving nation. My studies indicate that the maintenance of social transnational ties with the home country varies among immigrant groups and generations. For example, foreign workers tend to maintain stronger ties with their home country than female marriage migrants. Furthermore, the ties are weaker among multicultural adolescents, the second-generation immigrants. The impact of social transnational ties also differs between immigrant generations. On the one hand, social transnational ties play a role as a buffer for foreign workers and female marriage migrants in regard to their physical and mental health. However, unlike the positive impact of transnational ties among first-generation immigrants, the negative impact of transnational ties was observed among second-generation immigrants; multicultural adolescents who maintain transnational ties are more likely to engage in delinquent behaviors and social withdrawal. These findings suggest the need for collaboration between the home countries of migrants and the government of the destination country to facilitate the establishment of positive transnational ties, transforming them into sources of support rather than stress, especially for second-generation immigrants Furthermore, future studies could apply qualitative methods to elucidate how transnational connections with the home country affect the health and behaviors of immigrants from diverse backgrounds, considering the characteristics and cultures of their home countries.



Sou Hyun Jang, holding a Ph.D. from the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York, currently serves as an assistant professor at Korea University. Her research interests encompass international migration, transnationalism, and health disparities. Her ongoing research employs quantitative and qualitative methods, in addition to utilizing big data from social media. This research is centered on investigating how transnational ties impact the physical and mental health of diverse migrant groups.

This event is partially funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) project "Qualification and Skill in the Migration Process of Foreign Workers in Asia".

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