Afraid of the Light: Unmasking the Discourse on Irregular Migration and Its Implications for Migration Governance in ASEAN

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This paper attempts to investigate the issue of irregular migration in the ASEAN region. The space and attention given to a burgeoning reality of irregular migration is yet to be given its due space at national policy-level and regional discussions. The primary objective of the paper is to function as a baseline study for future advocacy on protection of the rights of undocumented migrants in the region. Primarily, it focuses on the governance of migration, or the lack thereof, by contextualising the current status of irregular migrants in major destination countries of the ASEAN region, being Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.

Product details
Date of Publication
August 2019
Migrant Forum in Asia & Heinrich Böll Stiftung Southeast Asia
Number of Pages
Language of publication
978 – 621 – 96178 – 0 – 2
Table of contents

Acknowledgements  3
Abstract  6
Abbreviations and Acronyms 7
Introduction 8
About the Study 17
Sampling 18
Methodology 19
Challenges 20
Malaysia 25
Indonesia as an origin country 38
Bangladesh 50
Nepal 58
Myanmar 69
Case Study : The Plantations of Perak 75
Civil Society Response 82

Thailand 91
The Thailand-Myanmar Corridor 100
Case Study: Mae Sot – Gateways and Revolving Doors 106
Singapore 117
Case Study: Indonesian female, TIP Referral 124
Cambodia 129
Civil Society Response 135
Case Study: Kampong Cham and Phnom Penh 139
Conclusion 153
Recommendation 158
Appendix 1 162
Guiding Questions (20 mins) 162
For Embassies 163
For CSO’s 164
References 165