Urbanization and Migration in Southeast Asia: Exploring Sustainability and Social Justice
Part 1Session 5
Thu 11:00-12:30 Room 0.17
Part 2Session 6
Thu 14:00-15:30 Room 0.17
- Cholnapa Anukul Public Sociological Association of Thailand
- Sayamol Charoenratana Chulalongkorn University
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Challenges of Urban Migrant Health System: Case Study of Bangkok
Cholnapa Anukul Public Sociological Association of Thailand
Sayamol Charoenratana Human Security and Equality Research Unit/Chulalongkorn University
Recently, Thailand is the destination country with the largest population of migrant workers in ASEAN. Urbanization has attracted migrant workers to Bangkok Metropolitan Region (BMR) and Bangkok has become their capital. Since the outbreak of coronavirus around 2021 in the metropolis, migrant workers has been affected most from both the disease and the health policy measures in response to pandemic. This study aims to investigate factors affecting migrant health system in Bangkok. The research methodology is a mixture of quantitative, qualitative and document research, whose data collection consists of face-to-face, interviews, focus group meetings and future scenario meetings. Our main finding is that two key barriers of migrant health system in Bangkok metropolis are the deficiency of migrant health issue within the urban development policy and prejudices among health professionals towards migrant workers. Without an inclusion approach, migrant workers, especially undocumented migrant workers, is excluded from health system, although their economic participation in urban development is obvious. Without addressing health personals prejudices, discrimination affecting health service quality is unnoticeable.
Gendered Migration and Integration Process: Thai Immigrants in the Late 1980s-2020s
Mika Hasebe Meiji Gakuin University
The influx of Thai female migrants to Japan has begun since the late 1980s. How has gender affected the migration process of such women? This presentation focuses on the “integration” experience of Thai immigrant women in Japan. The integration process includes the way of entering to and the strategy to remain in the destination country, as well as, the integration into society, i.e., the opportunity of learning the language or the participation in the labor market. My fieldwork with intensive interviews reveals the characteristics of Thai immigrant women’s cluster in Japan utilizing the “inner city” argument. The influx is remarkably “gendered” as it heavily consisted of the victims of human trafficking from Thailand, and not much other forms of migration. Because, in the late 1980s, people from Thailand had very few legal options to migrate and work in Japan. Only the sex industry had great demand for “foreign” women to work in the country. These immigrant women were trafficked to meet its demand, being absorbed into the sex industry and forced to prostitute. The only way for them to escape from prostitution was to find a spouse. Yet, being wives in Japan has brought another “gendered” problem in their integration process. Especially, it has been difficult for them to be economically independent. This is because 1) their husbands are more likely to be financially destressed, 2) the immigrant women are less likely to become successful regular employees in the formal economy, as they have had difficult access to the opportunity for learning the Japanese language. Moreover, such learning opportunities have been unfortunately restricted by their husbands. In addition, the Japanese labor market itself is quite gender segregated. Without their high enough Japanese language skills to be formally employed, they have been encouraged to become self-employed by the Thai embassy since 2003. As a result, the Thai restaurants and the authentic Thai-style massage parlors run by such Thai immigrant wives have been opened intensively and flourished around “inner city” areas of Japan.
Internal Migration of Vietnamese Low-skilled Laborers as a Part of Migratory Path of Migrant Workers and Marriage Migrants to Taiwan
Filip Kraus Palacký University
Mai Thi Thu National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University
This paper examines the everyday lives of Vietnamese low-skilled labor migrants and marriage migrants in Taiwan. It focuses on the interactions, socio-economic activities, and strategies of (un)documented migrant workers and marriage migrants living and working in the Hukou industrial area, but looks at their international migration as on a result of the internal migration of low skilled labor force from Vietnamese countryside to the New Economic Zones in Vietnam.
Migration Policy and Social Integration of Southeast Asian Workers
Chika Shinohara St. Andrew’s University
Migration is a growing trend in the world. Southeast Asian people are approximately 20% of the growing immigrant population in Japan today. The country, once hesitant to receive migrants, has opened its door to both highly skilled professionals and unskilled workers from abroad in its recent history. A steady growth of Southeast Asian immigrants came along with the constant legal reforms in Japan. What brought these legal changes? How do local communities attempt to include such migrant workers into their social, economic, and cultural developments in the destination country? In what way is social integration of migrants taking place? This presentation shows how the Southeast Asian population has expanded in contemporary Japan, tracing its immigration related legal reforms and landmark cases. First, this study explores the transforming immigration trends and demographic characteristics, and then explains key legal amendments and landmark case stories of undocumented children. Japan’s population decline, particularly that of labor shortage, and international relations pushed the country to take steps toward increasing acceptance of immigration. Social expectations emerged for Japan to solve the labor shortage locally and to contribute internationally by providing such jobs and skill-trainings for growing young workers in Southeast Asia. One example is the intern trainees, who are accepted for a variety of jobs in shortage for workers, such as farm, fishery, construction, factory, cleaning workers and more. Another example is the care worker candidates for nurses and elderly care workers. Yet, Japan’s acceptance of such workers as trainees or candidates is criticized as a form of labor exploitation. This research interprets these social transformations and legal reforms based on the extant literature on migration and urbanization, gender and citizenship, and equal employment in globalization.
The plight of migrants worker in Samut Sakhon’s Central Shrimp Market during COVID-19.
Bussabong Wisetpholchai ThaiHealth Academy/Thai Health Promotion Foundation
The first incidence of Covid-19 infection was discovered in Samut Sakhon Province on December 17, 2020. She is a 67-year-old Thai woman who runs a seafood market in Mahachai, Samut Sakhon Province. The infection was connected to the Central Shrimp Market after a search and study for the disease. The governor of Samut Sakhon Province has announced disease control measures, including the designation of the principal shrimp market as a disease control area. Subsequently. Following that, the province of Samut Sakhon increased the intensity of its epidemic control measures. Controlling entry and exit points into and out of the province, as well as mobilizing testing staff, with an emphasis on migrant labor.
Working as a Care Worker: Narratives of Southeast Asian Migrants
Kumiko Tsuchida Komazawa University
Sanae Sugawara Tohoku Gakuin University
Economic sustainability and urbanization have been highly dependent upon the immigrant workforce in many of their destination countries. While it is always controversial on accepting more migrants in Japan, a great expectation has emerged in many industries that employing migrants is a solution for the labor shortage. In fact, the elderly care industry, one of the industries with a labor shortage problem, has accepted a growing number of Southeast Asian migrant workers in Japan today. How did Japan’s elderly care industry started employing migrants? What brought migrants to work in the care industry? What are the challenges for the Southeast Asian migrant care workers, their employers, and the destination society? This presentation shows how Japan’s care industry has accepted migrants, based on our ethnographic data. We first show how Japan’s care industry became culturally diversified looking at the changes in the communities where migrants reside, then categorize the migrant care workers by their residential status. The migrant care workers in Japan can be legally categorized into five visa status groups and their work conditions vary by the categories. Among the categories, our case study particularly focuses on two: marriage migrants who work at the care industry and international care workers who arrive in Japan through the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Japan and Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. This study shows characteristics of their migration processes and experiences to live and work in Japan. Based on our ethnographic data, this research considers the challenges for both Southeast Asian immigrant care workers and their destination, Japanese society, and elaborates on the issues of social integration, social justice, and gender.
The panel explores the nexus between urbanization and migration in Southeast Asia. As urbanization is the key engine of economic growth based development of this region, emerging urban environmental issues including land use planning, energy use, waste, toxic chemical use, transportation becomes sustainability challenges. While migration among Southeast Asia countries contributes to economic development of both origin and destination countries, migrant workers are excluded from urban development measures including housing, safety working conditions, social protection system. On the way towards sustainable city, migrant workers as a part of the city are mostly ignored. Although urban development requires migrant workers and economic integration is welcome among Southeast Asia countries, social integration of migrant workers is less concern and undocumented migrants becomes significant concern.
Bringing urbanization and migration together are our challenge as researchers and practitioners. Nexus issues might be urban food garden incorporating migrants, migrant workers in urban food system, gender economic equality and migrant care work, level of migrant economic participation and deserved social protection system, etcs. How could sustainable urban development integrate with social justice approach in case of migrant workers? What are barriers of sustainable urban development, which left migrants behind? What kind of social integration approach should be discussed? Contributions from any discipline in responsive with these theme are welcome.