The World Bank will launch its report on the mobility of labor amongst ASEAN countries, and how challenges faced by migrant workers impact their welfare and the potential for economic growth. World Bank Chief Economist for the East Asia and Pacific region Sudhir Shetty will present the key findings of the report, entitled Migrating to Opportunity, and initiate a discussion of policy options available for the ASEAN region. ASEAN countries now supply 8 percent of the world’s migrants, up from 6 percent in 1995. Intraregional migration has grown significantly, transforming Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand into regional migration hubs with some 6.5 million ASEAN migrants, 96 percent of the region’s total number of migrants.
Most migration in the region consists of low-skilled, often undocumented, migrants looking for better-paying jobs. There is considerable variety of migrants in the region. In addition to sending migrants to the Middle East and the United States, the Philippines contribute a quarter of the world’s ship crews. Malaysian workers commute each day across the narrow Straits of Johor to work in Singapore. Even though most migration in the region is low-skilled, Malaysia and Singapore have special programs to attract global talent. Although Southeast Asia offers ample opportunities for better jobs, the report, prepared in consultation with the ASEAN Secretariat and its member countries, documents why workers are not always able to take advantage of these opportunities and what is lost when they fail to do so. Join us for a discussion of the policies
that would reverse the trend and lead to positive benefits for both workers and the broader economy.