The main vision of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is to establish a single market and production base, a globally competitive region that accepts the free flow of goods, services, investments and skilled workers.
Goods and capital are already flowing within the region. The more difficult problem is improving labor movement within the region.
Trade increased from $ 68.7 billion in 1995 to $ 257 billion in 2017 as almost all tariffs in ASEAN were eliminated. It is based primarily on intermediate goods supplied to the regional value chain. Figure 1 shows the patterns of domestic trade (exports) in ASEAN in 1995 and 2015. In the past, it is clear that trade between Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand dominated the flow of intra-trade trade (Figure 1, left). However, in 2016, the regional export share became more evenly distributed among the members (Fig. 1, left).
The region has developed close trade relations and has emerged as one of the most integrated economic regions in the world.
Over the last two decades, ASEAN has also witnessed a high volume of movement of people in the region. The total number of immigrants in ASEAN has more than quadrupled, from 2.1 million in 2995 to 9.9 million in 2016. Labor migration within ASEAN is primarily carried out by immigrants from the Greater General Merchandise Store (GMS), Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. PDR to Thailand, Indonesia-Malaysia route, and emigration from Malaysia to Singapore (Figure 2)
The total amount of movement within ASEAN has increased significantly in the last few years, but the main patterns of labor movement within ASEAN have not changed dramatically. In the context of labor movement, wage inequality tends to determine direction and quantity.
The same is true for Malaysia and Indonesia. Singapore’s high wage premium attracts workers of all skill levels both inside and outside the region.
With the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community in December 2015, a new challenge for ASEAN member countries is to achieve a “competitive, innovative and dynamic” economy across the region. For many members, this means moving to a high-income position. This requires significantly improved productivity and efficiency. Building an economic and business environment that facilitates innovation. A skilled workforce is essential for this process. There is a growing demand from businesses and investors to attract, retain and circulate talented people throughout the region.
One of the key steps that ASEAN has already taken to promote the mobility of skills in the region is the Mutual Awareness Arrangement Initiative, which establishes a common skills and qualification recognition scheme in the region. To date, these arrangements have been signed for seven qualifications, including engineering services, nursing, construction services, tourism, healthcare professionals, dentists, and accounting services.
ASEAN can strengthen these agreements by introducing policies and programs that facilitate the transfer of a wide range of skills. For example, locally qualified workers can give priority in processing job applications in industries that mutually benefit the economy of the origin and destination. These schemes can be devised to maximize efficiency in sharing talent.
The need to promote cross-border labor migration across the territory of the highly skilled workforce. As demographics change across the region, so do the ASEAN surplus and deficit labor markets. Demand for semi-skilled to unskilled workers is already high and may increase to meet the growing needs of services, healthcare, and household services. The shortage of semi-skilled workers can actually be more serious as the educational background of the workers will increase rapidly over the next few years. The growing elderly population in East Asia and other developed countries opens up significant migration opportunities for low- and middle-skilled workers …
Southeast Asian countries recognize the importance of highly skilled immigrants
https://www.thailand-business-news.com/asean/90033-southeast-asian-countries-are-realising-the-importance-of-high-skilled-immigration Southeast Asian countries recognize the importance of highly skilled immigrants