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The views expressed in this presentation are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the

views or policies of the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), its
Board of Directors, or the governments they represent. ADBI does not guarantee the accuracy of the data
included in this paper and accepts no responsibility for any consequences of their use. Terminology used
may not necessarily be consistent with ADB official terms.

Labour Migration in Asia:


Trends and Developments
8th ADBI-OECD-ILO Roundtable on Labour Migration in
Asia: Building partnerships for effectively managing
labour migration: lessons from Asian countries for the UN
Global Compact on Migration

Jointly organized by: Asian Development Bank Institute,


Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
International Labour Organization

Hosted by: Human Resource Development (HRD) Korea

30-31 January 2018


Seoul, Republic of Korea

Nilim Baruah
Senior Migration Specialist
DWT/Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Outflows from selected Asian countries
• Overall labour migration flows declined in 2016, from 5.41 million workers
(2015) to 4.98 million – 8% decrease

• Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries continued to receive most of


the flows – 66% in 2016 (but a decline from previous year)

• Decrease in flows in 2016 – All except Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar,


Vietnam and Bangladesh

• Countries of origin vary significantly in the proportion of women


deployed. 2.24 million migrant domestic workers in SE Asia and Pacific

• Asia is an important source region for movements to OECD countries (5


countries in top 10 in 2015)

• Refugee flows – around 680,000 arrivals in Bangladesh from Rakhine


State
Outflows of workers from selected Asian
countries, 2007-2016

Millions 5.41
5.33
5.14 5.14
4.98
5
4.67 4.72

4.18 4.14
4.04
4

2
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

Note: Total of nine countries. Philippines estimates are based on the change in stock 2015/2016 applied to 2015 flows.

Source: ADBI-OECD-ILO, 2018


Outflows of workers from selected Asian
countries, 2007-2016

2015/16
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
% change

1
Philippines 716 870 991 1 124 1 319 1 435 1 469 1 431 1 438 -8%*
328*

Pakistan 282 425 396 358 453 635 620 752 947 839 -11%

Bangladesh 820 875 475 391 568 608 409 426 556 788 42%

India 809 849 610 641 627 747 817 805 781 521 -33%

PRC 372 427 395 411 452 512 527 562 530 494 -7%

Nepal 205 249 220 294 355 385 451 520 500 419 -16%

Sri Lanka 218 250 247 268 263 282 293 301 263 243 -8%

Indonesia 690 636 630 567 594 460 469 430 276 235 -15%

Viet Nam 64 87 73 86 88 80 88 107 116 126 9%

Note: PRC = People’s Republic of China.

* Philippines estimates are based on the change


in stock 2015/2016 applied to 2015 flows.
Source: ADBI-OECD-ILO, 2018.
Recruitment context
Migration costs are high in Asia/GCC and differ according to corridor

Average monthly
earnings in
Destination Origin Total migration costs
destination
country (US$)
Average (US$) In months of earnings
in destination
(averages)
Saudi Arabia Pakistan 4,395 9.4 469
India 1,149 1.9 592
Qatar Philippines 480 1.0 469
Nepal 1,054 3.1 339
Bangladesh 3,136 9.0 347
Kuwait
India 1,248 2.5 494
UAE Pakistan 2,351 6.0 394
Bulgaria 201 0.2 1,300
Spain Ecuador 1,032 0.8 1,300
Morocco 333 0.3 1,300
Malaysia Vietnam 1,382 3.9 353
Source: KNOMAD World Bank / ILO Surveys
ASEAN trends

Deployment of migrant workers from ASEAN Member States, total deployment and deployment
to ASEAN (total number and per cent)
AMS Total Deployment Deployment to Average annual Deployment of Average
(2016) ASEAN deployment women migrant deployment of
(2012-2016) workers (2016) women (2012-
2016) %
Total % Global ASEAN
Cambodia 85 489 16 499* 66.8 41 683 18 9131 34 652 37.3
Indonesia 234 451 113 503 48.4 389 367 160 836 145 392 57.1
Myanmar 145 870 137 349 94.2 88 239 82 681 49 502 19.61
Philippines 1,430,842* 203 249* 14.2 1,445,0621 233 2851 … …
Thailand 114 437 15 398 13.5 123 174 20 215 22 913 19.1
Vietnam 126 296 2 109 1.7 103 518 10 551 46 029 35.4
Lao PDR 58 301 … … 29 454 … 30 085 50.8
Note:
*2014 data
1. 2012-2014 data only
… indicates data not available
Source: International Labour Migration Statistics (ILMS) 2017 (forthcoming) Database for ASEAN, ILOSTAT
ASEAN trends

Employed migrants in destination countries by


country of origin and sex
Stock
ASEAN Member State
Total from ASEAN % % women
Brunei Darussalam (2014) 52 161 79.5 35.8
Malaysia (2016) 2 205 300 56.4 (2013) 30.4
Thailand (2016) 1 476 841 89.8 …
Source: International Labour Migration Statistics (ILMS, 2017) Database in ASEAN
(forthcoming), ILOSTAT
… indicates data not available
ASEAN trends
Employment by broad economic activity for the total, nationals, and migrant
populations in selected ASEAN Member States, latest year (per cent)
Brunei Darussalam, 2014 (population census)

0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

Total 17.9% 81.6%

Non-migrants 13.4% 86.1%

Migrants 29.6% 69.6%

ILMS, 2017 (forthcoming)


Malaysia, 2016 (labour force survey)

Total 11.4% 27.5% 61.1%

Non-migrants 8.4% 25.9% 65.7%

Migrants 27.2% 36.3% 36.5%

Singapore, 2016 (administrative records)

Total 26.9% 72.4%

Non-migrants 16.2% 82.9%

Migrants 44.4% 55.3%

Agriculture Industry Services


Average monthly wages of the total employed and migrant
workers in Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia, latest year (local
currency)
Brunei Darussalam, 2014 (population census) Malaysia, 2016 (labour force survey)
2,500 3,000

2,500
2,000

2,000
1,500

1,500

1,000
1,000

500
500

0 0

Total Men Women Total Men Women Total Men Women Total Men Women

Mean Median Mean Median

Total employed Employed migrants Total employed Employed migrants

Source: International Labour Migration Statistics Database (ILMS)


Republic of Korea
Entry of foreign workers to Republic of Korea by year
70000

60000 59822

49127 51019
50000 50283

43962 44395 43990


40000 40147

31658 33666
30000 29564
28974

20000 19999

10000

3167
0
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

Source: Ministry of Employment and Labour, Republic of Korea


Pre-Migration Experience
Completed Skills Training – at Origin and Destination
66 69
Origin
48
16 22
Destination 6 4 4
CAM LAO MYR VTN

CAM LAO MYR VTN


n=457 n=450 n=451 n=450
Type of training
(%) (%) (%) (%)

Origin Dest Origin Dest Origin Dest Origin Dest


Foreign language 5 4 - 4 12 31 4 1
General literacy or numeracy 4 4 1 3 8 11 3 2
Vocational training 1 2 - - 3 3 - 1
Non-formal skills training - - - 2 1 - - 14
On-the-job training 3 15 4 65 2 24 - 55
Other - - - - - 8 - -
None 94 84 96 34 78 52 96 31

Source: ILO-IOM 2017. Risks and rewards: Outcomes of labour migration in South-East Asia
Pre-Migration Experience
Attended Pre-Departure Orientation
36
4 11 7

CAM LAO MYR VTN


CAM LAO MYR VTN
Profile n=457 n=450 n=451 n=450
(%) (%) (%) (%)
Men 37 2 14 8
Women 35 5 7 6
Domestic Work 52 8 - 5
Fisheries 21 - 6 8
Agriculture 26 9 9 20
Manufacturing 61 2 12 6
Construction 23 4 14 10
Hospitality and Food Services 17 1 17 3
Regular 48 4 11 12
Irregular 14 3 11 1
Thailand 33 4 9 2
Malaysia 73 - 15 12
Source: ILO-IOM 2017. Risks and rewards: Outcomes of labour migration in South-East Asia
Migration Process
Migration Channel Used

Cambodia Lao PDR Myanmar Vietnam

Regular
Regular Regular
4%
31% 20% Irregular Regular
Irregular Irregular 48% 52%
Irregular
96% 80%
69%

CAM LAO MYR VTN


Channel used n=457 n=450 n=451 n=450
(%) (%) (%) (%)
Government agency - <1 5 <1
Licensed recruitment agency 26 <1 10 52
Direct recruitment by employer 5 3 5 -
Unlicensed broker 26 1 47 3
Friends or family 27 44 21 12
Independently 16 51 6 33
Other - - 7 -
Source: ILO-IOM 2017. Risks and rewards: Outcomes of labour migration in South-East Asia
Migration Process
Effectiveness of Migration Channels

Avg. Time to Migrate Avg. Cost of Migration Experienced Problems


(Days) (USD) (%)

Malaysia 31 97 Malaysia 995 1107 Malaysia 13 38

Thailand 33 114 Thailand 215 501 Thailand 48 52

Cambodia 18 136 Cambodia 123 548 Cambodia 72 66

Lao PDR 20 Lao PDR 171 Lao PDR 17

Myanmar 30 45 Myanmar 536 794 Myanmar 45 25

Vietnam 86 113 Vietnam 203 1172 Vietnam 99 3

Regular Channels Irregular Channels

Source: ILO-IOM 2017. Risks and rewards: Outcomes of labour migration in South-East Asia
Migration Process
Assistance with Migration Problems
CAM LAO MYR VTN
Sought assistance n=321 n=78 n=185 n=219
(%) (%) (%) (%)
Sought assistance 27 36 58 5
Did not seek assistance 73 64 42 95
Source of assistance
Friends or family 13 32 40 4
Broker 4 4 4 -
Recruitment agency 8 - 3 1
Community leader - - - -
Labour authorities - - - -
Police - 3 1 -
NGO - - 1 -
Trade union - - - -
Other 4 - 9 -
Resolution
Resolved problem 7 15 23 1
Did not resolve problem 93 85 77 99
Source: ILO-IOM 2017. Risks and rewards: Outcomes of labour migration in South-East Asia
Migration Process
Employment Contracts and Substitution

Type of Employment Contract


Cambodia Lao PDR Myanmar Vietnam

None Written None Written None Written None Written


40% 30% 45% 6% 41% 22% 40% 53%

Verbal Verbal
Verbal Verbal
49% 37%
30% 7%

Job turned out to be different to what was agreed in the employment contract

Written Verbal Written Verbal Written Verbal Written Verbal


33% 21% 12% 11% 43% 17% 5% 9%

Source: ILO-IOM 2017. Risks and rewards: Outcomes of labour migration in South-East Asia
Employment Conditions
Assistance with Labour Rights Violations
CAM LAO MYR VTN
Sought assistance n=365 n=136 n=223 n=340
(%) (%) (%) (%)
Sought assistance 24 25 39 4
Did not seek assistance 76 75 61 96
Sources of assistance
Friends or family 9 7 22 1
Employer or manager 11 19 15 3
Embassy or consulate - - 2 -
Recruitment agency 5 - - -
Community leader - 1 - -
Labour authorities - 1 - -
Police - - - -
NGO - - - -
Trade union - 1 - -
Other 3 - 4 -
Resolution
Resolved problem 6 13 11 2
Did not resolve problem 94 87 89 98
Source: ILO-IOM 2017. Risks and rewards: Outcomes of labour migration in South-East Asia
Recent policy developments
A. National and bilateral

1. Thailand – Draft Royal Ordinance on Management of Employment of FWs, 2018


• Bans worker paid recruitment fee but stipulates that costs for passport, health-check
up, work permit and similar may be borne by migrant workers
• Increases severity of employer sanctions – administrative and/or penal for repeat
offenses
• Makes written employment contract a requirement
• Establishes a Management of FW Fund in lieu of Repatriation Fund

2. Indonesia – Law on Protection of Indonesian MWs, 2017

3. Malaysia
• Payments of government levies for recruiting migrant workers shifted from workers to
employers, starting Jan 2018
• Malaysia-Cambodia MOU on migrant domestic workers signed Dec 2017
Recent policy developments
A. National and bilateral

4. Philippines
• MOU with UAE on the recruitment and employment of domestic workers, Sept 2017

5. Singapore (Source: Fragomen Global LLP and Affiliates)

Post arrival orientation


• New work-permit holders required to attend mandatory Settling-In Programme
starting mid-2018.
• Employers responsible for registration and course fees
Admission
• Employment pass applications require additional information/justification

6. Nepal-Jordan MOU (October 2017) – no recruitment fees/costs to MW; standard


employment contracts (DW and other)
Policy developments
B. Regional

The ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of MWs was adopted by
ASEAN MS in November 2017. Some key features are:

The instrument covers migrant workers who are documented and “those who become
undocumented through no fault of their own.”

Contains key chapters on Rights of MWs and Family members, Obligations of sending and
receiving States

The instrument does not add to the rights of family members (compared to the Cebu
Declaration) other than adding visitation

Caveat - applicable national laws is used quite often

Encourages collaboration with Dialogue Partners and international organizations

ACMW will develop action-plan and establish mechanism for reviewing progress
Policy developments

C. Global

Decent work and well managed migration in SDGs (Goal 8 & 10) – methodology development
• Target 8.8 Protect labour rights and secure working environments for all workers
• Indicator 8.8.1 Frequency rates of fatal and non-fatal occupational injuries by sex and
migrant status – Tier 2
• Indicator 8.8.2 Increase in national compliance of labour rights by sex and migrant status –
Tier 3
• Proposed methodology will be presented at the 20th ICLS, October 2018

• Target 10.7 Facilitate orderly, safe and responsible migration and mobility of people
• Indicator 10.7.1 Recruitment cost borne by employee as proportion of yearly income earned
in destination countries
• Proposed methodology to be presented at 20th ICLS
Policy developments

C. Global

ILO Fair Recruitment Principles and Operational Guidelines – definition of fees and costs
• No recruitment fees or related costs should be charged to, or otherwise borne by, workers
or jobseekers. (7)
• Recruitment fees or related costs – incurred in the recruitment process in order for workers
to secure employment or placement
• Global comparative study on definition and application of fees and costs
• Tripartite experts meeting (November 2018)

Intergovernmental negotiations on a Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration
(adoption planned for December 2018)
Concluding remarks

• Labour migration flows in Asia (9 countries) saw a decline in 2016

• Flows mainly to GCC countries and SE Asia. East Asia - important destination. Asia is
significant source region for movements to OECD

• Issues around migration cost and recruitment highlighted

• Employment and working conditions of MWs continue to need attention

• Avenues for regular migration need to be less cumbersome

• New labour migration laws enacted in Thailand and Indonesia

• ASEAN Consensus adopted with work-plan to follow

• Intergovernmental process on a Global Compact on Migration launched.


Thank you
Nilim Baruah
Senior Migration Specialist
Decent Work Team/ Regional Office for Asia
and the Pacific
baruah@ilo.org