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Reviewed by:
  • International Migration in Southeast Asia
  • Ghazy Mujahid, Ph.D.
International Migration in Southeast Asia Edited by: Aris Ananta and Evi Nurvidya Arifin Publisher: ISEAS, Singapore, 2004 ISBN: 981-230-279-4 (soft cover); 981-230-278-6 (hard cover)

International Migration in Southeast Asia examines the socio-economic and political impacts and challenges of international migration within, to and from Southeast Asia. The region is defined to cover: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. In the Introductory Chapter - Should Southeast Asian Borders be Opened?, the editors set the overall tone of what is to follow by emphasizing the sensitivity of the movement of human beings because "they bring with them their myriad aspects which may affect the social and political life of the receiving countries". The discussion is then appropriately divided into the following sub-themes: the history of migration; linkages between migration and economic development; the lucrative business of exporting unskilled workers; the problems of irregular and forced migrants; and national policies of receiving and sending countries. Twelve chapters, each contributed by an outstanding researcher or researchers, provide ample insight into relevant issues. Each chapter focuses on one of the sub-themes, though, given the inter-linkages between various issues, is not restricted to that sub-theme only.

Chapter 2: International Migration in Southeast Asia since World War II by Graeme Hugo and Chapter 3: Chinese Migration and Adaptation in Southeast Asia: the Last Half-Century by Leo Suryadinata - trace the history of international migration. Chapter 3 deals exclusively with the patterns of migration of the Chinese over the past century but mainly since World War II. Its main contribution is providing a vivid picture of assimilation of Chinese migrants into the local population: from huaqiao (Chinese citizens overseas), to huaren (ethnic Chinese) to huayi (of Chinese descent). In Chapter 2, Hugo, brings out the unprecedented increase in international migration since the 1970s. He ascribes this to the revolution in global transport, the liberalization of cross-border restrictions, the differential pace of the demographic transition leading to the persistently widening gap between labour-surplus and labour-deficit countries, and the "oil boom" in the Middle East. Issues such as the impact of remittances, "brain drain" and the increasing role of women in migration together with the higher risks of exploitation they face are brought out.

Migration-development linkages are discussed in Chapters 4 and 5. In Chapter 4: Foreign Direct Investment and International Migration in Economic Development: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand, Pan-Long Tsai and Ching-Lung Tsay present an investment migration development path (IMDP) model describing the systematic relationships between patterns of foreign direct investment (FDI) and international labour migration (ILM) on the one hand, and economic development on the other. Using data from the four countries, they show how with development, a country moves from having a net inflow of FDI and net outflow of ILM (stage 1) to having a net inflow of both (stage 2) and then having a net outflow of FDI and a net inflow of ILM (stage 3). Indonesia and Philippines are in stage 1, while Thailand and Malaysia have entered stage 2. Thailand, it is pointed out, has a considerable outflow of workers but the inflow is larger. Graphic plots of net [End Page 77] outward FDI and net outward ILM with per capita GDP are used to show that a country moves from stage 1 to stage 2 as per capita GDP rises. The authors do not however discuss if all countries in the region could reach stage 3, or the whole graph can be expected to shift upwards, that is, with time each stage would be defined by a higher level of per capita income. Intra-regional migration can be expected to continue forever: net FDI and ILM flows being determined not so much by each country's absolute level of per capita income but by its level relative to other countries in the region.

In Chapter 5: Impact of Remittances on the Indonesia Economy, Sukamdi, Elan Satriawan and Abdul Haris focus on remittances as an important aspect of international migration on the development of the sending countries using Indonesia...


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