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Public attitudes towards migrant workers in Asia

— theme: Labour migration policy, Rights and protection of migrants
— country: Asia
— type: Reports

Public attitudes play an important role in shaping policy towards migrant workers and have an impact on the status and well-being of migrants. Although governments and international organizations often point to the mutual benefits of migration for countries of origin and destination, studies have shown that the public generally hold negative perceptions of migration and migrant workers. The public’s fears and apprehension are particularly intense in light of the global economic downturn and jobs crisis. This paper looks at the knowledge and attitudes of the public in Asian host societies to migrant workers drawing upon the International Labour Organization (ILO) research conducted in four countries in Asia. The paper also presents various studies and research findings from across the world and further explores strategies for influencing public attitudes and promoting integration. The ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (2007) recognized the need to promote harmony and tolerance in destination countries towards migrant workers and following this, the 4th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour (a meeting of member states, trade unions, employer organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Southeast Asia) in October 2011 put forward specific recommendations to promote a positive image, and the rights and dignity of migrant workers in the region.

Max Tunon
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