Economic development in the GMS has been consistently strong especially in the last decade and labor migration within the sub-region is an important factor in sustaining growth and alleviating poverty. The large flow of migrant labor taking place in the GMS reflect the uneven pace of development among the economies of the sub-region, as well as the demographic disparities in individual societies. Cross-border mobility in the GMS, particularly of labor is increasing, as employment opportunities and labor migrants move across borders to meet market demands. The flows are also facilitated by factors such as proximity to one another, cultural similarities, migrant networks as well as much improved communications and transport connectivity.
Important challenges related to human migration in the GMS abound at different levels and scope from sending, transit and receiving countries. The majority of migration flows within the GMS Region currently comprise low-skilled workers who work in 3D Jobs (Dirty, dangerous, and difficult) at wage levels lower than those paid to nationals. However, labor migration of skilled workers is also occurring although on a lesser scale. Protection of migrants becomes paramount, which can be enhanced if labor migrants are equipped with appropriate skills that will enable them to participate in the job market in a legal way, as well as effective labor migration systems and regulatory frameworks.
Priority issues that have to be addressed, among others, include the need to reform, strengthen and harmonize GMS vocational and technical training standards and to harmonize labor migration policies to meet the demands across the region. The absence of systematic information about labor markets in the sub-region makes it more difficult for GMS countries to provide appropriate training and information to their populations to enable cross-border opportunities in skilled employment.
GMS governments have increasingly been giving attention to migration issues, actively seeking to develop appropriate policy approaches and practices in the face of escalating intra-regional migration flows. There is an increasingly acknowledged need to take a more active role in governance of migration that balances the needs of economic growth and the labor demands of the private sector with the national security, humanitarian and social concerns associated with migration.
What We Do
The MI Human Migration and Care program seeks to promote migrant protection and safe labor migration by facilitating:
- harmonized labor migration management policies and systems;
- employability of labor migrants by strengthening TVET and vocational-technical skills recognition systems;
- monitoring and analysis of issues and trends in labor migration, skilling and employment of labor migrants in the GMS.
Program activities include the conduct of:
- Researches and Policy Briefs on the dynamics and implications of economic development and labor migration in the GMS;
- Learning Programs that will develop soft and technical skills in labor migration management and policy development, technical-vocational skills standardization and certification, labor migration information systems and networking;
- Policy Dialogues aimed at information sharing,common understanding and joint analysis and galvanizing sub-regional actions and agreements to address GMS labor migration management and migrant workers employability;
- Technical Support on migration issues especially to partners in the MI economic corridors projects.
More information please contact: Human Migration and Care Dept.