Vol.35-No.04 April 1,1996
Workshop on Labor Mobility in Asian Regions
On February 1-2, the Japan Institute of Labour (JIL) sponsored a workshop on the theme of International Labor Mobility and the Job Market in Asia - National Policy and Regional Cooperation - at its LINC Hall in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The workshop, the second of its kind to be held for exchanges of information on international labor mobility under the aegis of the Japanese government, the OECD and the ILO, was attended by researchers and administrators from Asian countries.
Addressing the gathering in his key-note speech, Akira Takanashi, JIL's Research Director General, said changes were also occurring in international labor mobility due to rapid economic development in Asian regions, thus stressing the need to build a monitoring system to regularly grasp the mobility of people in the region.
Manolo Abella, ILO's senior specialist, pointed out that labor mobility in Asian areas was brought on by labor demand rather than by labor supply, stating the need for both sending and accepting countries to work together to establish a policy to protect workers overseas.
Participants from 9 Asian nations including Japan reported on the present situation of worker mobility and policy tasks in their countries. A representative from China, the major sending nation, explained that the government administers migration of its workers abroad and enters in agreement with the government of hosting nations to let them engage in such jobs as construction. Participants from Thailand and Malaysia which allow in foreign workers, reported on the current state which is characterized by a surge of workers from Indonesia into their respective countries. The two nations are plagued with a continuing labor shortage.
Furthermore, Thailand, which can be classified into the third category country characterized by the coexistence of both an inflow and outflow of workers, sees its workers migrating to Asian and Mideastern countries, while on the other hand, it has 500,000 illegal workers from Myanmar and Cambodia engaged in agriculture in the country.
Thus, the participants confirmed the ever more complex landscape of worker mobility in Asian regions and the need for systems of cooperation beyond national boundaries. These include cooperation on restriction of underground brokers or similar organizations.
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