Asean Labor Flows Hit a Wall
Asean Labor Flows Hit a Wall

Asean Labor Flows Hit a Wall

Asean Labor Flows Hit a Wall

Tighter restrictions on foreign labor in Malaysia and Thailand have pushed out millions of Southeast Asian migrant workers, driving up wages and potentially threatening a growth model reliant on freedom of movement and cheap labor.
Malaysia’s Top Glove, the world’s largest manufacturer of rubber gloves, faces a very challenging increase in labor costs, according to executive chairman Lim Wee Chai. Foreign workers account for more than half the company’s workforce of 13,000, Nikkei reported.
The rise in costs owes largely to a shortage of foreign manpower in the country. Companies like Top Glove in labor-intensive industries are paying higher wages to foreign workers to keep them from leaving, or employing more locals to fill the gap. Top Glove intends to build two more plants this year, but a lack of workers could cause these plans to fall through.
Malaysian palm plantation operator Felda Global Ventures Holdings had to scramble to fill a shortfall of 8,000 workers. Indonesians used to account for 70% of the company’s 35,000 or so foreign employees. But fewer Indonesian migrants sought work in Malaysia last year, forcing Felda to shrink its harvesting operation and weighing on sales in the plantation segment.
Thailand’s Samut Sakhon Province, a major fishing hub, is 5,000 workers short following tighter government regulations that prompted many migrants to leave. Fewer than 500 people responded to a call for more workers.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations had 6.9 million migrant population coming from within the region in 2015, according to the United Nations. Nearly 80%—5.3 million—were in Thailand and Malaysia, two of the region’s most developed economies. Both countries have also long turned a blind eye to foreign workers without proper documentation, who are often tasked with difficult or dangerous jobs.
UN data and estimates from local industry bodies suggest that a total of roughly 4 million, or 2 million people each, used to work illegally in Thailand and Malaysia, putting the total number of migrant workers at roughly 10 million—equivalent to more than 10% of the countries’ working-age population.
Many come from fellow Association of Southeast Asian Nations members Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Indonesia, as well as such other emerging economies as Bangladesh and Nepal. Remittances from those workers are vital to economic growth in these poorer countries, yet many are returning home.
Regulations implemented last June in Thailand impose fines on employers with unregistered foreign workers. Malaysia has arrested many migrants as well as people employing them illegally, and the government introduced a tax this year on companies with any foreign workers.

Short URL : https://goo.gl/9kdqrC
  1. https://goo.gl/7Xj7qo
  • https://goo.gl/KXq6gT
  • https://goo.gl/rY4dg9
  • https://goo.gl/NqsLcz
  • https://goo.gl/cfL3yQ

You can also read ...

More and more Thai merchants are integrating WeChat Pay and Alipay’s systems to cater to tourists.
The internet has changed the way most people live. Through...
Cambodia’s economic outlook remains positive, but is subject to downside risks.
The IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde expressed optimism...
More India Bank Frauds Revealed
Over 25,800 fraud cases involving about Rs179 crore ($1.79...
Qatar Calls to Investigate UAE Bank’s Bogus Deals
Qatar has asked US regulators to investigate the US subsidiary...
Free trade achieves more good for the planet.
US President Donald Trump’s steel tariffs have brought the...
Morocco Currency Reform on Right Track
Few weeks after the launch of the gradual dirham float, the...
EU Readies Tax on US Technological Titans
The European Union will next week unveil plans for a digital...
Apparel imports from ASEAN are growing, spurred by low labor costs  in such countries as Vietnam.
Import prices for apparel and daily goods in Japan plunged...

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints