IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Irregular Migration from Cambodia: Characteristics, Challenges, and Regulatory Approach

Listed author(s):
  • Hing, Vutha
  • Lun, Pide
  • Phann, Dalis
Registered author(s):

    The study examines the characteristics, root causes, and challenges of irregular migration from Cambodia and then discusses the regulatory approaches and policy options to manage it. It employed mixed approaches, including a survey of 507 households in six high-migration villages, focus group discussions with returned and intending migrant workers, and in-depth interviews with government officers, migration experts, and local community chiefs. The study found that irregular migration has been the most popular form among Cambodian workers seeking jobs overseas. The causes of irregular migration are many, ranging from chronic poverty, lack of employment, and economic hardship in community of origin to restrictive immigration policies in labor-receiving countries and lengthy, complex, and expensive legal recruitment. The predominant factor is inability to afford the cost of legal recruitment. Cambodian migrant workers face abusive and exploitative situations, including sexual and physical harassment, debt bondage, and threats of denunciation to the authorities, without access to legal protection. Some are also victims of human trafficking. The findings from the Cambodian case study on irregular migration align with international literature suggesting a combination of at least three sets of measures: addressing the causes, strengthening protection, and enhancing international cooperation. The first two sets have a lot to do with national sovereignty and development priorities involving community development, improving the regulatory framework to make legal migration more transparent and more widely accessible, and enhancing support services of information, consultation, and legal protection. The third set of measures involves bilateral, regional, and international cooperation. Cooperation between Cambodia and labor-receiving countries on regularization or making legal migration more accessible can be part of an effective response to irregular migration. In the long run, irregular migration can be solved through a more integrated labor market in the GMS, supported by subregional regulations and institutions as well as through an ASEAN Economic Community that sets a legal framework for a free flow of labor.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Philippine Institute for Development Studies in its series Discussion Papers with number DP 2011-26.

    in new window

    Length: 41
    Date of creation: 2011
    Handle: RePEc:phd:dpaper:dp_2011-26
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    NEDA sa Makati Building, 106 Amorsolo St., Legaspi Village, Makati City,

    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:phd:dpaper:dp_2011-26. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Aniceto Orbeta)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.