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International Labour Migration in East Asia: trends, patterns and policy issues


  • Prema-chandra Athukorala


This paper examines emerging patterns of labour migration in East Asia and related policy issues from the perspective of labour-importing countries. Following a survey of the characteristics of labour flows stemming from, but more importantly occurring within, the region, it probes inter-country differences, both in the timing of the entry of migrant workers and the degree of dependency on migrant labour in the context of rapid economic growth and labour market change. There is clear evidence that labour migration is now a structural feature of the economic landscape in these countries. The policy challenge is to design market-based systems for making the new reliance on labour inflows consistent with changing domestic labour market conditions and the priorities of national development policy, while minimising social resentment and adverse implications for political relations with neighbouring labour-sending countries. Copyright © 2006 The Author Journal compilation © 2006 Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University and Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd..

Suggested Citation

  • Prema-chandra Athukorala, 2006. "International Labour Migration in East Asia: trends, patterns and policy issues," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 20, pages 18-39, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:apacel:v:20:y:2006:i::p:18-39

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    Cited by:

    1. Athukorala, Prema-chandra & Wai-Heng, Loke, 2007. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Malaysia," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 48476, World Bank.
    2. Athukorala, Prema-chandra & Devadason, Evelyn S., 2012. "The Impact of Foreign Labor on Host Country Wages: The Experience of a Southern Host, Malaysia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1497-1510.
    3. Rene Ofreneo & Peter Wad, 2010. "Industrial Relations and Labour Market Conditions," Chapters,in: The New Political Economy of Southeast Asia, chapter 5 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Terrie Walmsley & Angel Aguiar & Syud Amer Ahmed, 2017. "Labour Migration and Economic Growth in East and South-East Asia," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 116-139, January.
    5. Ingrid Nielsen & Sen Sendjaya, 2014. "Wellbeing Among Indonesian Labour Migrants to Malaysia: Implications of the 2011 Memorandum of Understanding," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 117(3), pages 919-938, July.
    6. Ian Harper, 2010. "Globalization and Labor Markets: Developments in the Asia-Pacific," Chapters,in: Globalization and Economic Integration, chapter 9 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Prema-chandra Athukorala & Archanun Kohpaiboon, 2013. "Global Production Sharing, Trade Patterns and Industrialization in Southeast Asia," Departmental Working Papers 2013-18, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
    8. Wilson, E. J. & Jayanthakumaran, K. & Verma, R., 2012. "Demographics, Labor Mobility, and Productivity," ADBI Working Papers 387, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    9. Michele Tuccio, 2017. "Determinants of Intra-ASEAN Migration," Asian Development Review, MIT Press, vol. 34(1), pages 144-166, March.
    10. Munshi Israil Hossain & M. Adil Khan & Patricia Short, 2013. "Migration of Bangladeshi workers to Malaysia: emerging lessons of economic and social costs and benefits at the migrant, migrant household and community levels," Chapters,in: The Asian Century, Sustainable Growth and Climate Change, chapter 9, pages 200-222 Edward Elgar Publishing.

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