Tripartite Action to Enhance the Contribution of Labour Migration to Growth and Development in ASEAN (TRIANGLE in ASEAN)

TRIANGLE in ASEAN aims to maximize the contribution of labour migration to equitable, inclusive and stable growth in ASEAN by building on activities, relationships and processes established under TRIANGLE I.

Project objectives 

ASEAN is a dynamic region with approximately 14 million migrant workers from ASEAN Member States, of whom six million moved within Southeast Asia. However, much of the intra-ASEAN migration is irregular and temporary and is not reflected in official data – the true number of migrant workers is much higher. Around half of these migrant workers are women who work predominately in the services sector, including in domestic work, but also in construction, manufacturing, agriculture, seafood processing and informal workplaces.

Migration is a significant driver of economic growth and poverty reduction in both counties of origin (primarily through employment, livelihoods, and remittance flows) and destination (through private sector growth and economic stability) with the prosperity of entire industrial sectors and geographical sub-regions reliant on the effective movement and absorption of millions of migrant workers. The numbers of migrant workers are expected to continue to increase, and migration offers significant opportunities for development.

The TRIANGLE in ASEAN project is a part of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) efforts to promote fair migration and extends cooperation with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Building on five years of working together to improve labour migration governance and promote the rights of migrant workers, TRIANGLE in ASEAN aims to ensure that the benefits of labour migration are equally realised by men and women migrant workers; employers and governments. In shifting emphasis towards harnessing the development potential of migration, TRIANGLE in ASEAN will shape labour migration opportunities to support inclusive and sustainable growth in the ASEAN Economic Community.

TRIANGLE in ASEAN will provide technical assistance to governments, social partners, civil society and regional bodies to create a suite of policies, tools and tested initiatives that contribute to increasing the proportion of positive migration and reintegration experiences. TRIANGLE in ASEAN will increase the efficiency of the regional labour market, with employers able to fill jobs with the right people faster. The project will promote more decent work options for women migrant workers and increase the proportion of workers who migrate successfully through regular channels, thereby ensuring a more stable environment for economic growth.

At a glance

TRIANGLE in ASEAN will focus on delivering in six countries (Thailand, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Myanmar, Malaysia and Lao People's Democratic Republic) and engage at an institutional level with ASEAN.


Labour ministries, workers' and employers' organizations, recruitment agency associations, civil society organizations in six countries in ASEAN.



Target beneficiaries

Migrant and potential migrant workers and their communities from and within the Greater Mekong Sub-region and Malaysia, tripartite constituents, recruitment agencies, civil society and the private sector.

Main activities

TRIANGLE in ASEAN works on three key areas:

  1. Protection: Migrant workers are better protected by national and regional labour migration governance frameworks
  2. Development: Policies and programmes harness the potential of women and men migrant workers to contribute to economic and social development
  3. Regional mobility: Labour mobility systems are gender-responsive and increase the efficiency of labour markets in ASEAN region

TRIANGLE in ASEAN has three cross-cutting themes that inform the implementation of activities:

  • Gender equality and women’s empowerment
  • Private sector engagement
  • Communications and advocacy

TRIANGLE in ASEAN will deliver services directly to migrant workers and members of their families through a network of Migrant Worker Resource Centres (MRCs) in the six countries. These MRCs are implemented in partnership with government institutions, trade unions and civil society organizations and provide a variety of services in countries of origin and destination tailored to the target population. Over the past five years, these MRCs have become trusted community services and will become institutionalised over the life of TRIANGLE in ASEAN, building an environment that enables informed migration choices and increases positive and profitable migration experiences.

Project outcomes

From 2010 to 2015, the GMS TRIANGLE project input into 18 policy instruments in six countries. These instruments included national legislation and regulations, and bilateral Memoranda of Understanding governing regular migration.

The GMS TRIANGLE project also:

  • Trained 20,083 stakeholders at national and provincial levels
  • Provided 61,991 individual beneficiaries, including (potential) migrant workers and members of their families, with personalised assistance.
  • Moved steadily towards gender parity with women making up 41 per cent of project beneficiaries
  • Assisted 39,595 potential migrant workers in countries of origin by providing pre-departure counselling or facilitating complaints procedures on return
  • Supported 22,396 migrant workers in destination countries through counselling, training and legal assistance, enhancing access to compensation and social protection schemes

During the GMS TRIANGLE project, over US$2 million was ordered as compensation for migrant workers assisted by the project, for complaints ranging from underpayment, withholding of identity documents or as damages for injuries or illnesses suffered at work. Through beneficiary tracing, 89 per cent of regular migrants said that they had chosen to use legal channels based upon counselling services delivered through the MRCs.