Irregular migration in Asia: dimensions, issues and responses

Piyasiri Wickramasekara, International Labour Office (ILO)

The paper aims to contribute to the debate on irregular migration in Asia. It will first examine the nature, scale and trends of irregular migration in Asia. It will then deal with various causes of irregular migration, and argue that the lack of regular legal labour migration opportunities is a primary cause for the emergence of irregular flows in addition to governance issues. The next section will analyze the impact of irregular migration, and the vulnerability and lack of protection of migrant workers in irregular status in receiving countries with special focus on gender dimensions. The paper will highlight popular policy responses by Asian countries to deal with the situation and their limitations, drawing upon the experience of the Republic of Korea, Malaysia and Thailand. The final section will review international norms and good practice in dealing with irregular migration, and their relevance to Asia.

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Presented in Session 92: Irregular migration: measurement, determinants, consequences and policy implications