Easing curbs on labour migration policies can boost workers’ welfare and economic growth in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said a World Bank report.

In a statement today, it said, intra-regional migration in Asean increased significantly between 1995 and 2015, turning Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand into regional migration hubs with 6.5 million migrants.

“The figure represents 96 per cent of the total number of migrant workers in ASEAN, as stated by the ‘Migrating to Opportunity’ report,” it said.

World Bank Chief Economist for the East Asia and Pacific region, Sudhir Shetty, said the Asean Economic Community had taken steps to facilitate the migrant’s mobility, but the regulations only covered certain skilled professions, such as doctors, dentists, nurses, engineers, architects, accountants and tourism professionals, or just five per cent of jobs in the region.

“With the right policy choices, the home countries can reap the economic benefits from the out-migration, while protecting their migrating citizens.

Source: World Bank