Asia-Pacific Population Journal, Vol. 20, No. 3
Social Development Division (SDD)
(1) Population and development
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Asia-Pacific Population Journal
Vol 20, No. 3, December 2005
- Recent Trends in International Migration in Asia and the Pacific (PDF, 115 KB)
By Maruja M.B. Asis
This paper provides updates in trends in international migration in and from the Asia-Pacific region from 2001. With migration systems firmly in place, various forms of international migration involving workers, settlers and refugees continue to transpire in the region. Other persisting trends are the increasing participation of women in migration and the concentration of migrants in labour markets abandoned by local workers. Despite the structural role of labour migration in the region’s economy, the template of policies concerning the migration of less skilled workers is still wedded to the idea of temporary labour migration. Receiving countries are also increasingly turning to migration to increase their pool of highly skilled and professional migrants. A notable development since 9/11 is the linking of migration to security issues, which has led to policies and practices that infringe on migrants’ rights. The paper concludes that migration will continue to matter in the Asia-Pacific in the near future. There is a need to foster more dialogue and cooperation to ensure that migrants’ rights and the development prospects of the countries of origin are not jeopardised.
- Migration Trends and Patterns in South Asia and Management Approaches and Initiatives (PDF, 110 KB)
By Md. Shahidul Haque
Historic ties, accentuated by the modern day dynamics of migration has given rise to a complex and multidimensional population movement in the South Asian region. Today, migration features prominently in all contours of life, including economic, social and cultural aspects for all countries of the region. From internal migration to international migration, short-term to long-term migration, economic migration, irregular migration including smuggling and trafficking in persons or population displacement, migration has become an issue that cannot be ignored. It is a livelihood option, a coping strategy, a strategy to fulfil vital labour needs and one that continues to shape the economies and societies of the region. This paper attempts to look at some of the emerging migration dynamics in terms of patterns and trends and also the existing migration management policies and initiatives in place in South Asia. In conclusion, the paper highlights the complexities and interdependence in managing migration and validates the fast emerging recognition that regional collaboration is crucial to manage and ultimately maximize the benefit of this movement in South Asia, while reducing its the negative impacts.
- Social Issues in the Management of Labour Migration in Asia and the Pacific (PDF, 136 KB)
By Manolo I. Abella
Cross-border movements of workers from and within the Asian region have grown rapidly during the past three decades, largely driven by labour shortages in the more dynamic economies of the region, and taking place without the benefit of agreements between origin and destination States. The migration’s dominant characteristic is the role played by commercial intermediaries and the admission of workers under temporary guest worker schemes. While most view the phenomenon as having been mutually beneficial to origin and destination States, as well as to the majority of individual migrants, the fact that migration is largely market-driven and official policies are anchored on purely temporary admission have had predictable consequences on the conditions of the migrants. Migrants are not allowed to enjoy equal rights with native workers in order to discourage settlement. The growth of populations of undocumented migrants who are unable to access legal protection has profound social and economic consequences. This paper draws on the 2003 ILO (International Labour Organization) Survey of labour migration to shed light on how far national policies are in line with ILO principles especially that on equal treatment.
- Transnational Politics and Organizing of Migrant Labour in South-East Asia – NGO and Trade Union Perspectives(PDF, 118 KB)
By Nicola Piper
South-East Asia is part of a dynamic region in terms of labour migration, comprised of source and destination countries highly significant within the broader patterns of human movement at the global level. The “import” and “export” of steadily increasing numbers of foreign workers in general and the feminization of migration in particular, has created a myriad of problems and challenges that require the attention of governments, trade unions and non-government organizations in origin and destination countries. New strategies are beginning to emerge within the region in the form of intra-organizational reform processes or inter-organizational alliances.
This paper focuses on migrants’ collective activism and national as well as transnational networking by NGOs and trade unions in view of identifying areas of collaboration on issues concerning foreign workers across South-East Asia. Its objective is to highlight the importance of social action and activism in the effort to promote and implement a migrant rights’ agenda. In adopting a transnational perspective, the paper seeks to reflect today’s prevailing forms of migration that are characterized by their short-term nature with high levels of return and re-migration taking place. Thus, emphasis is put on transnational political activism as a crucial element to push for a new rights’ agenda that takes on board the context in which many, if not most, migrants operate today.
Profound dialogue between the two sets of actors needs to take place nationally on the exact terms of engagement and areas of cooperation. Transnational partners need to be identified and brought into this process to build a complex web of transnational interactions that would improve the complex situation of migrant workers. Documentation on good practices of trade union and NGO collaboration as well as the failures in the field of migrant labour would help to gain deeper insights into trade union-NGO connections.
- Enhancing the Development Impact of Migrant Remittances and Diaspora: The Case of Viet Nam (PDF, 62 KB)
By Dang Nguyen Anh
While the levels of international migration and international remittances continue to grow globally, little is known about the effect of those processes on the development of home countries. There is little research about the roles of diaspora communities at countries of origin. Recently, the debate on the role of international migrants and the migrant diaspora in the development of their countries of origin has received new impetus. Although it is widely acknowledged that migrants send substantial amount of remittances back home, the exact nature of the effects and whether the net effects are advantageous or deleterious for the countries of origin is still a matter of debate.
This paper tries to fill this gap. It aims at discussing the often neglected but important development impacts of migrant remittances and diaspora. Referring to the specific case of Viet Nam, the paper analyses the roles that the Vietnamese diaspora is planning in the national development. Potential and actual impacts of overseas Vietnamese on the country’s socio-economic development are examined through remittances, investment and transnational entrepreneurship, and technology transfer.
- Child Migrants and Children of Migrants in Thailand (PDF, 97 KB)
By Jerrold W. Huguet and Sureeporn Punpuing
There are two categories of children of migrants in Thailand who are in an especially vulnerable situation. They are the children of displaced persons residing in camps along the border with Myanmar and the children of registered and unregistered migrant workers from neighbouring countries. The two groups together comprise more than 150,000 children. Very little data and information on those children is available and, partially as a consequence, government agencies and international organizations have not given adequate attention to the issues surrounding their well-being. It appears that most children of migrant workers are not receiving schooling in Thailand and those of unregistered workers may have difficulty accessing health care. It is recommended that the Government of Thailand strengthen policies pertaining to children of migrants within a framework that integrates migration policies with its broader strategies for social and economic development.
- Raising Our Own Awareness: Getting to Grips with Trafficking in Persons and Related Problems in South-East Asia and Beyond (PDF, 100 KB)
By Phil Marshall
Despite unprecedented growth in programmes and policies to combat trafficking in persons, the problem is generally believed to be getting worse. It is therefore timely to review the overall impact that those programmes are having, and, in particular, the way they are conceived.
This paper, centred on South-East Asia, focuses on interventions undertaken under the heading of Trafficking Prevention, including awareness-raising, vulnerability reduction and migration controls. It suggests that there are several important problems in the anti-trafficking response, many of which emanate from the way that the issue is conceptualized. Those problems include, in particular, commonly accepted definitions of the “root causes” of trafficking. At the same time, the paper highlights examples of how changes in our conceptualization and understanding of the issues, based on experience and new information, are leading to promising new approaches.