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Labour Markets

Labour Migration Trends and Policy Challenges in Southeast Asia

Author : Amarjit Kaur | 2016
Published By: Policy and Society Associates

Labour migration in Southeast Asia since the 1970s and 1980s must be understood as an integral part of the post-colonial new geographies of migration. The scope and scale of transnational movements have grown rapidly and major states like Malaysia and Thailand between them currently host about 70 per cent of the estimated 13.5 million migrant workers in the region. Singapore’s foreign labour force accounts for 25 per cent of the country’s workforce. Two phenomena characterize these labour movements. Like labour-importing Western democracies, the major Southeast Asian labour-importing countries rely on the guest worker program to solve their labour shortage problems. They regulate immigration through elaborate administrative frameworks that are focussed on border control while brokerage firms and labour recruiters carry out recruitment, transportation and placement of migrant workers. These countries’ immigration policies also often provide incentives for skilled workers, boost circular migration flows among low-skilled workers, and include severe penalties for unauthorised migrants. Additionally, comparisons between these countries point to patterns of convergence among them. This paper explores migration trends in the post-colonial geography of migration against the backdrop of growing regionalism and the development of regional migration systems and migration corridors. It also examines the ‘‘new world domestic order’’ and the development of gendered migration linkages that have resulted in the expansion of the domestic work sector and care-giving migration.

URL : 20170628023656.pdf

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