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Asean Struggles To Protect Labourers

The ASEAN Community’s interest in unskilled labourers remains poor, despite the fact that this group provides the real workforce that dominates labour flows around the region. Wasamon Audjarint of The Nation looks at the reasons behind the reluctance to protect these migrant workers.

From the Editor: Labour Day 2016 issue

Welcome to the Labour Day 2016 issue of The ASEAN Beat, a publication produced by the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ program! In this issue, we bring together a diverse mix of features, analyses and video reports around ASEAN and the different facets of labour migration. Happy reading, and a work-free Labour Day!

Reintegration: the Forgotten Side of Migration in ASEAN

The reintegration of Southeast Asia’s migrant workers is as important as their departure and the remittances they send home to labour-exporting countries like the Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar. But as Tess Bacalla explains in this piece for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ series, ASEAN is unlikely to focus on reintegration when it is averse to addressing the issue of unskilled workers in the region in the first place.

Freer Movement of Skilled Workers: Pitfalls, Positives for ASEAN

Will the greater skills mobility under the ASEAN Community be is an inclusive type of economic integration, and contribute to a reduction in income or wealth inequality? The Asian Development Bank’s Shang Wei Lin tackles the issue in this article in’ The Nation’.

Protecting the Marginalised

There are concerns that only one percent of Southeast Asia’s workforce will benefit from the ASEAN Economic Community’s Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs), leaving more than 9.5 million migrant workers in the region bereft. Amanda Siddharta of ‘Tempo’ magazine takes a look at what it will take for the rights of these workers to be protected.

ASEAN’s Highly Skilled Health Workers

The ASEAN Economic Community envisions freer movement of labour across borders. With the lure of more opportunities and higher wages, could this lead to a brain drain in Vietnam? Le Hang Phan Thi of Vietnam News Agency looks at the push and pull factors for doctors in her story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

ASEAN Locks Horns on Migrant Workers’ Rights

In the second part of this series, Tess Bacalla looks into ASEAN’s challenge of trying to forge regional policy – and action – on labour migration, a topic that member countries have for long considered a touchy issue and have conflicting interests on.

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