Thailand at a Crossroads: Challenges and Opportunities in Leveraging Migration for Development
With a robust and relatively open economy attracting low- and high-skilled workers from nearby countries and beyond, Thailand is well positioned to take advantage of the benefits of migration. However, leveraging migration for development is not easy, and would require the introduction of comprehensive, long-term migration policies. With this in mind, it is important to understand the complexity of various of types of migration to and from Thailand.
Many migrants face obstacles to decent work opportunities, health-care access, and civil rights; others who have been in Thailand for an extended period may desire to remain rather than return to their country of origin.
This brief examines the country’s migration challenges ahead and the two basic approaches to regularizing labor migration: Memoranda of Understanding with migrant-sending neighbors and nationality verification as a preliminary step for work permit application by unauthorized immigrants.
II. Migration and Development in Thailand: Three Observations
III. Strengthening the Migration-Development Link: Four Viable Options