One of the most rapidly aging societies in the world, Japan is looking to immigration to address increased labor shortages—albeit slowly and largely without public debate. This country profile offers a brief overview of Japan’s migration history and examines the current immigration system, in particular policies and programs to bring in foreign workers, particularly on a temporary basis.
Faced with labor shortages in key sectors of the economy, South Korea has moved carefully in recent decades toward accepting greater numbers of workers—albeit in temporary fashion. Its Employment Permit System, launched in 2003, earned international accolades for bringing order and legality to immigration in the country, although several challenges remain to be addressed as this Country Profile explores.
Climate-related displacement is not hypothetical: An average of 21.5 million people per year have been displaced since 2008 by natural disasters, and thousands more have fled slow-onset environmental hazards. While migration can serve as a safety valve to adapt to changing conditions, few orderly, legal channels exist for climate migrants (also known as environmental migrants), as this article explores.
Having emerged from a long era of military rule, Myanmar's leaders and many citizens are looking outward. In particular, with Burmese labor migration abroad on the rise, policymakers are examining ways in which to harness remittances as a vehicle for economic development, particularly in impoverished rural areas. This article explores Burmese labor migration flows, financial reforms, and challenges on migration and development.
With many countries in East Asia facing unfavorable demographic shifts in the form of aging populations, low fertility, and shrinking workforces, governments in 2016 continued to explore immigration as a potential policy solution. However, a tradition of cultural homogeneity and wariness among publics about increased immigration is leading policymakers to test the waters with very small steps.
In stark contrast to a Europe that is erecting new barriers and reinstituting border controls, other regions around the world are moving toward greater mobility for intraregional travelers and migrants. Regional blocs in South America and Southeast Asia have been working to ease intraregional movements of workers, and the African Union in 2016 launched a new biometric African passport.
Hong Kong is home to more than 340,000 foreign domestic workers, who can be found in one of every seven households. Despite efforts by the governments of Hong Kong and top sending countries, these workers remain uniquely vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. This article examines the conditions foreign domestic workers face, the policies governing their employment, and the challenges in protecting their rights.
Two years on, the Australia-Cambodia refugee relocation agreement—the first of its kind involving a traditional resettlement country relocating refugees to a country with no resettlement track record—has proven to be underwhelming in its outcomes. Only five refugees have been voluntarily relocated under the deal, of whom just one remains in Cambodia. This article explores where the deal went wrong and what lies ahead for Australia’s detained asylum seekers.
The Armenian diaspora, which significantly exceeds the country's resident population, has played an instrumental role in Armenia's political and economic development since independence in 1991. Yet a picture emerges of divergent currents within the diaspora, often seen from above as a unified entity. Delve into differences in engagement among Armenia's "old" and "new" diasporas with this feature article.
In August 2015, India and Bangladesh officially exchanged 162 enclaves, marking the end of a 300-year old anomaly that saw the fragmented territory of one sovereign power located inside another sovereign territory. Enclave residents have lived in virtual statelessness since partition in 1947, without identity documents or access to essential services. As part of the deal, India and Bangladesh allowed residents to choose their country of citizenship.
Afghanistan, once the world's largest origin of refugees, is increasingly experiencing mixed migration, including seasonal and permanent outflows for both economic and humanitarian reasons, internal displacement, and refugee returns. This feature article examines the current trends with a focus on return migration and the development impacts at the intersection of displacement and urbanization.
The number of Asian immigrants in the United States has increased exponentially over the last 50 years, and Asia is now the second-largest region of birth of U.S. immigrants. The growth of this population dates to the abolition in 1965 of national-origin quotas that barred immigration from Asia. This article delves into key data on Asian immigrants, from settlement and employment patterns to immigration pathways, and more.
Faced with a flexible, diverse, and seemingly ubiquitous smuggling industry, governments have struggled to respond. Smuggling and trafficking networks, while hardly new phenomena, were put under a harsh spotlight in 2015 for their role as intermediaries in shaping the scale and flow of migrants and asylum seekers around the world.
Citizenship came under fire in new ways around the world in 2015, with attempts to both restrict who is eligible to become a citizen and who can be deprived of citizenship. Driven by fears of international terrorism, a number of countries proposed or passed legislation making it easier to narrow citizenship and broadening the range of offenses for which individuals can be stripped of their citizenship.
From earthquakes to drought, natural disasters and climate change played a key role in migration flows in 2015. Climate-induced migration surfaced as a concern at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (known as COP21) as international organizations and policymakers have begun to recognize the growing challenges, and potential protection obligations, of such movement.
Facing electoral challenges, falling approval rates, and weak economies, some political leaders in 2015 altered border policies or engaged in conflicts across borders as tools of domestic policy. This trend looks at the effects on migration of conflicts between Venezuela and Colombia, Russia and Ukraine, and India and Nepal.
A number of countries in 2015 redesigned their immigrant investor visa programs in response to questions about their economic benefits or allegations of fraud. The reforms have in some cases made such programs far more costly and encouraged investment in higher-risk assets. Applications for such visas have fallen signficantly in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, as policymakers may have overestimated demand.
Japan is one of the world's most generous contributors to humanitarian appeals, yet accepts a very small number of asylum seekers—indeed only 11 were granted refugee status in 2014. Even as Japan has witnessed a record number of asylum applications, the approval rate has declined. This feature explores Japan's low acceptance of asylum seekers, including institutional barriers and negative public perceptions.
Even as Nepal will lean more heavily on its international diaspora to help recover from devastating earthquakes that killed thousands and decimated parts of the country, the disasters have had effects on internal migration. Class and gender dynamics have long driven significant internal flows. This feature article explores migration trends in Nepal, including movement between ecological zones, growing urbanization, and the feminization of an increasingly mobile workforce.
The end of the Vietnam war, marked by the fall of Saigon in 1975, precipitated the mass Indochinese refugee crisis, which saw more than 2 million people flee the region, often on unseaworthy boats. Following the war, Vietnamese migration was divided between humanitarian flows to the West, and labor migrants to allied communist countries. More recently, Vietnam's rapid economic growth has prompted increased labor migration to Asia and a rise in migrant brides.