migrants, migration, human rights, settlement, Southeast Asia, labor rights, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, newly industrializing countries, developing countries, foreign direct investments
This thesis explores migrant labor in South-East Asia by addressing the topic of migration, specifically its causes and consequences. Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore are countries that experienced rapid industrialization from the mid-1960s throughout the 1990s. Simultaneously, the migration of people within the region increased. A key focus is how regional development has contributed to migration flows and to the position of migrants in these countries. Using a migration systems framework from Castles' and Miller's The Age of Migration (2003) that draws on theoretical elements from economics, historical-structuralism and transnationalism, this thesis finds that several factors explain the causes of migration in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore and the lasting implications migration had in their respective societies. Both macro- and micro-structures influenced industrialization and a migratory labor market. The historical, political, and economic linkages shared among the countries, alongside regional integration and attractive government-led industrialization strategies contributed to large-scale flows of migrant workers within the region. These same factors made migration and settlement increasingly difficult. Consequently, human rights violations of migrants in these countries became more pronounced. Singapore's dominance of Indonesia and Malaysia in the semi-periphery of South-East Asia conditioned the environment that migrants faced in their host societies. Migrant workers from Indonesia and Malaysia enjoyed better treatment in Singapore, because of its targeted labor, immigration, and social policies. In all three countries, settlement patterns of migrant workers were virtually similar to government commitments to prevent assimilation.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Hajek, Patricia, "Migrant Workers In South-east Asia:economic And Social Inequality In Indonesia, Malaysia, And Singapore" (2008). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3745.