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Title: International Labour Migration in Southeast Asia: Governance of Migration and Women Domestic Workers
Contributor(s): Kaur, Amarjit (author)
Publication Date: 2007
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Abstract: International labour migration (ILM) across sovereign national borders in Southeast Asia expanded rapidly in the 1980s. This expansion occurred in response to the economic and demographic differences between countries in the region, the role played by migration networks, transformations in communications, and lowered transport costs. Accordingly, new regional migration patterns have emerged, including: fast growth in the demand for skilled and less-skilled migrants in particular occupational categories; the creation of sub-regional labour markets; and the increasing feminisation of the migrant labour force. Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, which had been associated with labour immigration prior to the Second World War, have again become countries of destination for migrant workers. Singapore and Malaysia in particular — which are the two main labour-importing countries — have imposed immigration policies that are symptomatic of the increased governance of labour migration and the need to find a balance between the issue of sovereignty and a liberalised immigration policy. The immigration debate in these countries reflects the spread of individual rights and the global call to incorporate mechanisms that provide protections for workers. Nevertheless, domestic workers have consistently been excluded from most forms of labour protection, demonstrating the continuation of the longstanding 'informal' status accorded to domestic work, a situation that has existed since colonial times. This article examines ILM and the governance of migration in Southeast Asia. Central to my analysis are the many inter-relationships surrounding the ILM issue. I also seek to highlight the gendered dimensions of migration governance policies as they relate to foreign domestic workers in Singapore and Malaysia.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context, v.15
Publisher: Murdoch University, School of Asian Studies
Place of Publication: Perth, Australia
ISSN: 1440-9151
Field of Research (FOR): 160303 Migration
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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