ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations is trying to become an integrated region. So, the World Bank feels that facilitating the movement of people between the member states will help in achieving this goal. The World Bank released its report on ‘Migrating to Opportunity’, which states that relaxing the current restrictions on labour migration will improve the regional economy.
The World Bank Economist for Social Protection, Mauro Testaverde said, “No matter where workers wish to migrate in ASEAN, they face mobility costs several times the annual average wage. Improvements in the migration process can ease these costs on prospective migrants, and help countries respond better to their labor market needs.”
Right now, they have lengthy recruitment processes, rigid employment policies and then there are quotas that restrict the number of foreign workers in a particular country. All these result in constrained workers’ welfare and increased migration costs.
The report has also suggested these nations to adopt Philippines’ migration policies. It says that Philippine policies are the best in the region when it comes to the welfare of migrant workers and boosts labour mobility.
The other steps that were recommended by the World Bank in this report are to make public the data on skills shortages and also improve upon the information that workers normally get regarding the work opportunities and their rights.
In the past years, the migration of people to the neighbouring countries has increased significantly. The result is that Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand have turned into regional migration hubs. In 2015 alone, remittances worth $62 billion worth were sent to ASEAN countries.