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Migration Dialogue provides timely, factual and nonpartisan information and analysis of international migration issues through five major activities: the newsletters Migration News and Rural Migration News, Changing Face and other Research & Seminars, and the Sloan West Coast Program on Science and Engineering Workers.
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The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) plans to lower barriers to the free movement of goods, capital and workers in 2015, but few workers are expected to take advantage of freedom of movement among the 10-ASEAN member states. One reason is that labor migration will be liberalized in top-down fashion, with accountants, architects, dentists, doctors, engineers, nurses, surveyors and tourism industry workers allowed to move freely in 2015.
Experience in other free-trade areas suggests that few professionals move for several reasons, including training that is country-specific and difficulty having their credentials recognized abroad. Professionals seeking to work for wages abroad may not speak the local language, reducing the willingness of employers to hire them.
Most of the workers moving between ASEAN member states are low-skilled and unauthorized, such as Indonesians in Malaysia or Burmese in Thailand. Their migration and status is not addressed by the AEC, but the 2007 ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers obliges ASEAN member state governments to protect low-skilled migrants. However, there is no framework to implement the 2007 ASEAN Declaration.