The Future of Migrant Workers in International Supply Chains:
Post Pandemic Outlook on Migration, Human Rights and Business
15:30-17:00 (Bangkok time, GMT+7), 1 June 2021
Organised by the International Organization for Migration (IOM)
In 2017 there were 163.8 million migrant workers in the world, over 40 per cent of whom were women. Migration has always been a powerful engine of prosperity for individuals, businesses and the nations between which they move, filling key gaps in labour markets in destination countries and channelling vital financial resources to origin nations through remittance flows. Migration dynamics are also subject to continual shifts, driven by relative economic performance of nations, technological change, and demographic transition, especially ageing populations. The combination of migration’s essentiality to origin and destination countries, and its changing forms, require business and governments to continually monitor and respond to new opportunities and risks. Low-wage migrants in Asia and the Pacific region are vulnerable to multiple forms of exploitation which may worsen over time as movements shift in new directions and to new locations. Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic caused major disruptions to migration flows, international supply chains and global economies putting 81 million people in Asia and the Pacific out of job in 2020 and significantly worsening the situation of migrant workers.
Understanding what the future of lower-skilled migration patterns will look like and what factors are likely to impact this flow will be key for businesses and governments to ensure that migrant workers are part of inclusive and just COVID-19 recovery efforts, and to ensure that steps are taken to maximise the benefits and mitigate the risks of this critical but often dangerous migration journey.
This session will be a panel discussion casting light on how migration dynamics in the region may evolve in the coming years and decades and the steps needed to be taken by businesses and governments to maximise the benefits and mitigate the risks of a critical but often dangerous migration journey. To answer this question the panellists will share findings from a recent IOM and The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report “The Future of Labour Migration in Asia” and a recent ADBI, OECD, ILO publication on impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and the post-pandemic future in Asia. The session will also explore the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the current and future migration trends and migrant worker vulnerabilities, inclusive of those which women migrants may face. Based on current economic, political and technological trends, the session will look at post pandemic outlook on migration, human rights and business, especially in the context of inclusive and just COVID-19 recovery.
The key objectives of this session are to:
Reflect on the future lower-skilled labour migration dynamics in the Asia-Pacific region and factors influencing regional migration flows in the next decade;
Reflect on the current and future vulnerabilities of migrant workers, especially those pertaining to the migration, business and human rights nexus;
Reflect on the roles and strategies that government and businesses can take to maximise the benefits and minimize the risks of lower-skilled labour migration, especially in the context of inclusive and just COVID-19 recovery.
Panelists will reflect on the following questions:
How will the future lower-skilled labour migration dynamics in the Asia-Pacific region look like and what factors are likely to influence regional migration flows in the next decade?
What are current and future vulnerabilities of migrant workers, especially those pertaining to the migration, business and human rights nexus?
What is the role of governments and businesses in maximising the benefits and minimizing the risks of lower-skilled labour migration, especially in the context of inclusive and just COVID-19 recovery?
Additional Background Documents
ADB. (2020). ADB Briefs: COVID-19 Impact on International Migration, Remittances, and Recipient Households in Developing Asia. Manila: ADB.
Asian Development Bank Institute, OECD and ILO. (2021). Labor Migration in Asia: Impacts of the COVID-19 Crisis and the Post-Pandemic Future.
Hedwall, M. (2020, June 22). The ongoing impact of COVID-19 on global supply chains. Retrieved from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/ongoing-impact-covid-19-global-supply-chains/
ILO. (2021, May). Labour Migration in Asia and the Pacific. Retrieved from International Labour Organization: https://www.ilo.org/asia/areas/labour-migration/WCMS_634559/lang--en/index.htm