Risks and rewards – Outcomes of labor migration in South-East Asia
Benjamin Harkins, Daniel Lindgren, Tarinee Suravoranon, International Labor Organization (2018)
During the last two decades, labor migration has emerged as a significant driver of economic growth and development in both countries of origin and destination within ASEAN. It is estimated that there are currently 20.2 million migrants originating from ASEAN countries, among whom nearly 6.9 million have migrated to other countries within the region. However, most of the workers involved in intra-ASEAN labor migration are employed in low-skilled, labor-intensive jobs in agriculture, fisheries, domestic work, manufacturing, construction, hospitality, and food services.
Even though labor migration has never featured more prominently within ASEAN than it does today, there remains a dearth of reliable data that can be applied for the development of evidence-based policy and programming. While assumptions are often made about the end result of migration in ASEAN and how best to ensure a safe and rewarding experience for migrant workers, the collection and analysis of empirical data has been very limited. Due to the temporary and irregular nature of much of the migration occurring within the region, the realities faced by migrant workers are often hidden from view. This study helps to fill the knowledge gap on the socio-economic outcomes of migration into low-skilled work within ASEAN.