ADBI-OECD-ILO joint publication

Labor migration in Asia: COVID-19 impacts, challenges, and policy responses

This publication analyzes the region’s labour migration outlook, corresponding economic and policy developments, and changes caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. It overviews labour migration to and from different Asian economies and details policy approaches in major origin and destination economies of labour migrants.

Chapter 1 reviews the recent regional trends, including evidence on the impact of the pandemic on flows and remittances. Chapter 2 looks at the available data on migrant job losses and COVID-19 infections, as well as policy responses to the pandemic in the key areas of access to health, occupational safety and health, housing, social protection, and the resumption of labour migration. Chapter 3 focuses on the return and reintegration challenges and policy responses in the wake of the pandemic.

This report draws on the discussions that took place at the “11th ADBI-OECD-ILO Roundtable on Labor Migration: Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic and Building Back Better,” held virtually in April 2021. The event, co-organized by the Asian Development Bank Institute, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the International Labour Organization, brought together regional experts and policy makers.

The report provides up-to-date comparative statistics on labour migration flows in, to, and from Asia. Two statistical annexes offer detailed economy fact sheets and coverage of intra-Asia and cross-regional migration flows.

Chapter 1. Trends in labor migration in Asia by Jonathan Chaloff, Lauren Matherne, Pitchaya Sirivunnabood, and Yumi Saito
Chapter 2. Labor migration challenges and policy responses in Asia during the COVID-19 pandemic by Rebecca Napier-Moore and Nilim Baruah
Chapter 3. Return and reintegration challenges and policy responses in Asia following the COVID-19 pandemic by Piyasiri Wickramasekara