Migration Policy Institute - Asia and the Pacific
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Immigration has driven economic and social development in Australia for more than two centuries. Even as more than one-fourth of the country’s population is foreign born and Australia ranks third among top refugee resettlement countries worldwide, controversy surrounding its hardline treatment of asylum seekers arriving by boat has cast a shadow on its reputation as a welcoming country, as this article explores.
This MPI Europe discussion brings together two of the most experienced thinkers on migration policy— António Vitorino and Demetrios G. Papademetriou—to explore what will be needed over the next years to ensure that the properly managed movement of people remains an integral, positive force in the world.
More than 630,000 Rohingya refugees had crossed into Bangladesh from Myanmar during the last quarter of 2017, fleeing targeted violence by the Burmese military. This displacement, resulting from what the United Nations called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing," marked the world's fastest-growing refugee crisis. Its speed and scale have challenged governments and aid organizations to effectively respond.
Millions of displaced people were unable to return home in 2017, and countless others found themselves newly displaced. Targeted violence in Myanmar caused more than 624,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh, and conflict in South Sudan drove at least 668,000 abroad. Some first-asylum countries, such as Uganda and Turkey, were largely accommodating, while others, such as Jordan and Lebanon, pressured refugees to leave.
Governments on the receiving end of migrants and refugees reinforced their commitment to returns in 2017, sending or coercing migrants to move back to impoverished or violent homelands. The Dominican Republic pushed out some 70,000 Haitians and native born of Haitian descent, while more than 500,000 Afghans left Iran and Pakistan. Though many of these migrants chose to return, in practice the line between forced and voluntary returns is blurry.
In 2016, the European Union announced with fanfare a new Migration Partnership Framework to inform cooperation with countries of origin and transit. While the bloc has long recognized collaboration as key to achieving its migration-management aims, EU partnerships face persistent challenges, including looking beyond short-term enforcement goals and taking into account partner needs, capacity, and objectives.
With 1 million people forcibly returned to Afghanistan in 2016 alone, the nature of return policies and reintegration assistance from European governments and others merits significant attention. This report examines the implications that returns present for those who are returned, Afghan society, and the migration-management and development objectives of the countries that are initiating the returns.
Nearly 6 million Afghans fled after violence erupted in the late 1970s, primarily to Iran and Pakistan. While millions returned after the collapse of the Taliban in 2001, the security situation has since deteriorated and the government struggles to meet the needs of vulnerable populations, particularly the internally displaced. This country profile explores Afghanistan’s complex migration and displacement history as well as ongoing challenges.
Thailand has become a key destination for migrant workers, primarily from Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos. Many lack authorization, however, and as their numbers have grown, so has the government's intent in regulating their movement—sometimes provoking unintended results. This article explores recent patterns in labor migration to Thailand and examines the likely impacts of a 2017 decree criminalizing illegal employment.
Bangladeshis in 2017 suddenly emerged as one of the top migrant groups entering Europe illegally. While Europe is a new destination, Bangladeshi labor migration has been an important part of the country's development since the 1970s, with growing numbers heading abroad, largely to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. This article explores and contextualizes the new phenomenon of Bangladeshi migration to Europe.
The Chinese represent the third-largest immigrant population in the United States, their numbers having grown rapidly in recent decades. The population is atypical in some respects: Far more highly educated and likely to have come via student and employment pathways than the overall U.S. foreign-born population. This article offers key data on Chinese immigrants, including top destinations, incomes, and English proficiency.
Over the past decade, immigrant investor programs have proliferated around the world, and Chinese applicants have dominated in a number of countries. In 2015, about 9,000 Chinese millionaires moved to other countries, many through so-called golden visa programs. This article explores the social and cultural factors driving well-off Chinese to move abroad and examines perceptions of elite emigration in China.
Immigrants from India are the second-largest foreign-born group in the United States, after Mexicans. Indian immigrants tend to be far more highly educated and have greater English proficiency than the foreign-born population overall. This Spotlight article offers the latest data on Indian immigrants, focusing on population size, state- and city-level distribution, occupation, educational attainment, and more.
In the Philippines, a pervasive culture of migration has led millions to seek opportunities abroad, particularly since an economic downturn in the 1970s. The government has long embraced exporting labor as official economic policy, but over time, the focus has shifted: first to protecting workers overseas and much more recently to linking migration and development. This article explores the evolution of Filipino migration policy and trends.
The history of dynamic migration flows throughout the Soviet Union pre- and post-collapse has significantly shaped the current migration reality in Russia. Even as borders have shifted and policies changed, inflows and outflows still occur mostly within the former Soviet space. As this article explores, Russia has worked in recent decades to strengthen its migration management system and update its residence and citizenship policies.
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.
While it has been years since the Association of Southeast Asian Nations signed accords to facilitate the movement of professionals in seven occupations, implementation of these Mutual Recognition Arrangements remains "painfully slow and uneven across countries." This final report in an MPI-Asian Development Bank series explores MRA implementation by sector, and offers recommendations to help achieve the goal of greater skill mobility in Southeast Asia.
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.
Given diverging demographics, rising educational attainment and wide variation in economic opportunities, countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are poised to see an expansion of both the demand for and supply of skilled migrants willing and able to move. The convergence of these megatrends represents unique opportunities for human-capital development and brain circulation, as this report explores.
As Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Member States work to facilitate the movement of professionals, the experiences of other countries hold promise for policymakers and licensing bodies in Southeast Asia as they deepen implementation of mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs) that seek to establish a uniform and transparent way of recognizing the qualifications of foreign workers. This report offers key lessons.