ASEAN’s governance of migrant worker rights

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Temporary migrant workers in Southeast Asia are subject to various abuses in recruitment, work and repatriation. A decade ago ASEAN governments committed to developing an Instrument governing migrant worker rights, but a series of deadlocks have stymied this agreement. Prevailing accounts explain this impasse as the consequence of incompatible national interests, norms of non-interference and consensus, a lack of institutional capacity and the limits of rights advocacy in ASEAN. Conversely, utilising a political economy framework, this article demonstrates this impasse in regional governance reflects societal-level conflicts among migrant workers, civil society organisations, business groups and state-based actors, generated by the latter’s adoption of migrant labour as both a livelihood and development strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)799-819
Number of pages21
JournalThird World Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


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