IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Enhancing Labor Mobility in ASEAN: Focus on Lower-skilled Workers


  • Orbeta, Aniceto Jr. C.


It is clear from data that worker movements in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), like elsewhere, are dominated by unskilled and semiskilled workers. It is also well-known that movements of these types of workers are dominated by irregular migration mainly because of lack of avenues for legal migration for them (Abella 2006). Yet discussions either globally (within and outside GATS) and regionally such as under AFAS/AEC are all focused on professionals and highly skilled workers. This attitude continues even if both back-of-the-envelope and systematic calculations using general equilibrium models show that movements of workers, in general, and lower-skilled workers, in particular, are beneficial not only for sending but for host country citizens as well (Walmsley et al. 2007). The paper provides recommendations based on known initiatives/measures to facilitate freer labor movements in ASEAN. The focus is lower-skilled workers because existing discussion such as the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint does not yet cover them. To achieve this, the paper provides a description of (a) the policy and institutional arrangements, both at the national and regional level, that currently govern the cross-country labor movement within ASEAN for both skilled and unskilled workers; and (b) the analytical framework that supports the discussions in deriving the recommendations. The paper also pointed out that not only can existing arrangements be extended to cover lower-skilled workers but also that there are already experiences on these types of worker movements.

Suggested Citation

  • Orbeta, Aniceto Jr. C., 2013. "Enhancing Labor Mobility in ASEAN: Focus on Lower-skilled Workers," Discussion Papers DP 2013-17, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:phd:dpaper:dp_2013-17

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rupa Chanda, 2001. "Movement of Natural Persons and the GATS," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(5), pages 631-654, May.
    2. L. Alan Winters & Terrie L. Walmsley & Zhen Kun Wang & Roman Grynberg, 2003. "Liberalising Temporary Movement of Natural Persons: An Agenda for the Development Round," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(8), pages 1137-1161, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Orbeta, Aniceto Jr. C. & Gonzales, Kathrina G., 2013. "Managing International Labor Migration in ASEAN: Themes from a Six-Country Study," Discussion Papers DP 2013-26, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
    2. repec:ilo:ilowps:486521 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Naomi HATSUKANO, 2015. "Improving the Regulatory and Support Environment for Migrant Workers for Greater Productivity, Competitiveness, and Social Welfare in ASEAN," Working Papers DP-2015-76, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).

    More about this item


    labor migration; ASEAN; Philippines; unskilled workers;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:phd:dpaper:dp_2013-17. 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). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.