The Mahidol Migration Center (MMC) will hold its 4th Regional Conference at the Institute for Population and Social Research (IPSR), Mahidol University, Salaya on June 28-30, 2016. The theme of the conference, “In the Era of Transnational Migration”, incorporates a broad range of topics including trends in migration within and outside of the ASEAN region, social and economic aspects of migration, and regional and international migration policies.
There is a long history of intra-regional cross-border migration in Asia. More recently, many move because of economic reasons, some move as refugees and some move because of marriage. These intra-regional migrants are increasingly becoming long stayers in the place of destination especially when they are women who generally tend to be responsible for care/reproductive work. There are national level debates on importing migrant labors through registration such as Thailand, through marriage, such as in Korea, and as domestic workers, such as in special economic zones in Japan. However, there is little discussion on the social reproduction of these migrants in these policy discussions. How are they integrated in the local community, how are their children cared of and educated, who are going to take care of them when they are sick/old, how are their problems heard, how can their rights be protected, how can their identities be recognized? When increasingly more migrants are staying at the place of destination for long period of time, we need to learn how we can change our society and community to create an inclusive society, and recognize how such social transformation can be of benefit both to migrants and to the receiving societies.
Migrants are often defined firstly as “non-nationals” before as “workers”. Their precarious citizenship status makes it difficult for them to claim their rights as workers. The fact that care/reproductive work is undervalued in the formal sector of economy makes it even more difficult when they are involved in this type of work. It should also be noted, however, that migrants often contribute to care work in both the place of destination and in the place of origin through working as domestic workers; working as care workers in care institutions; working as carers/ wives in the husbands’ family under international marriage; and caring for their own children in the place of destination as well as in the place of origin through remittances.
The conference attempts to discuss the linkages between social policy and integration of migrants, especially those who are in care/reproductive work. Some points to explore include but not limited to the followings:
- How national debate ignores the actual lives and social reproduction of migrants? How do we go beyond the productivity and economy focused debate on migration and put migrants’ rights and social reproduction as a central concern?
- How do national/ local social policies define and accommodate the realities of migrants? How can social policies be inclusive for migrants?
- How do migrant children get their welfare and establish their identities?
- What are the challenges the immigrants/ labor migrants face?
- How is the nature of their problems different in different receiving countries/ societies?
- How do ethnic compositions in the communities shape the ways migrants are integrated in the society?
- How do migrants manage their social reproduction?
- What are the relations between the migrants and the receiving communities, and how are their relations shaped?
- What are the different experiences of migrants by gender, age, ethnicity, and religion?
The conference is supported by Toyota Foundation, and will be held in conjunction with Mahidol Migration Conference.
Kaoru Aoyama, Kobe University, Japan
Doo-Sub Kim, Hanyang University, Korea
Kyoko Kusakabe, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand
Sureeporn Punpuing, Mahidol University, Thailand