Future of Work and Migration

12th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour

The 12th AFML was held on 25-26 September 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand. It was hosted by the Government of Thailand as the current chair of the ASEAN and the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW).

The ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour (AFML) is an open platform for the review, discussion and exchange of good practices and ideas between governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations, and civil society on key issues facing migrant workers in Southeast Asia. Each year the Forum develops recommendations to advance the implementation of the principles of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.

The 12th AFML carried the overall theme “Future of Work and Migration” with two thematic sessions:
  • Sub-theme 1: Challenges on Sustainable, Fair and Equal Protection
  • Sub-theme 2: Challenges on Migrant Worker Employability
  • The 12th AFML carried the theme “Future of Work and Migration”
    The world of work is changing fast today, particularly due to technological advancement, greening of our economies, climate change, demographic shifts and globalization. The transformation is rapid and has great impacts on various aspects of labour market, such as, form of employment, employment relationships, skill needed, social security, production technology, work organization, governance of work and tripartism. These transformative changes present new opportunities to improve the quality of working lives and create economic security, but decisive actions is needed to seize these opportunities.

    In ASEAN, the future of work will likely be characterized by increasing internationalization and mobility. Current labour market trends show that there is an increasing number of workers migrate between countries within ASEAN and outside in search for work. It is estimated that there are currently 20.2 million migrants originating from ASEAN countries, among them nearly 6.9 million have migrated within the region.

    The number of migrants moving within ASEAN countries has risen dramatically, increasing more than fivefold since 1990, (UNDESA, 2016). As a result, the contribution of migrant workers to the economic growth of both sending and receiving countries is obvious and significant. In addition, the number of women migrating within ASEAN has increased dramatically during the lst three decades, from 0.6 million in 1990 to 3.3 million in 2017. Women now make up almost half of intra-ASEAN migrants (48.7 percent) (UNDESA, 2017).

    With recognition on the important of future of work and migration, various national and international organizations start to look at the impacts/challenges of future of work on migration and the way in respond to these changes. The ILO’s Global Commission on the future of work, the UN Global Impact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (CGM), G20 and the Special Session Meeting of ASEAN Labour Ministers are the examples of the organizations/meeting that looking at these challenges.

    Thailand, as host of the 12th AFML Forum, realize that future of work and migration are both intertwine and equally important. Therefore, the 12th AFML Forum functioned as a platform for ASEAN Member States and stakeholders to discuss, sharing experiences, ideas and exchanging of information on challenges of future of work on migration and migrant workers.