IOM/MPI Paper Aims to Untangle Migration Myths in Asia and Pacific
The second paper in the “Issue in Brief” series
published by IOM and Migration Policy Institute was launched at a
breakfast event at IOM’s Regional Office for Asia and the
Pacific in Bangkok today (19/6/12).
Asian Labour Migrants and Health: Exploring Policy Routes is
part of a monthly joint-publication series which offers succinct
insights on migration issues affecting the Asia-Pacific region.
The latest publication claims that despite progress on both
policy and programmatic fronts, Asian migrant workers continue to
face challenges in accessing health facilities and services at all
stages of migration – before departure, while in transit, at
destination and on return.
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Labour Migrants and Health: Exploring Policy Routes
“Migrant health issues have risen on the agenda of policy
makers in the Asia-Pacific Region in recent years, generating
momentum at the very highest levels of government,” notes Dr
Jaime Calderon, IOM’s health advisor for Asia and the Pacific
and one of the authors of the report. “The challenge now is
how to translate this momentum into visible changes on the
The key message of the publication is that a strong focus is
needed on untangling myths from realities. There is a persistent
public perception that labour migrants carry disease or are a
burden to the health systems of the countries that receive them.
The reality, in fact, is far different, as labour migrants tend to
be younger and healthier than the native population and make less
use of health services in the countries to which they travel than
At the same time, their vulnerability to ill-health increases
during their migration, thanks to inadequate health insurance,
poverty and their uncertain legal status.
The IOM/MPI paper calls for five concrete steps to move the
policy discourse on migrant health in the right direction. These
include a review of labour migration and health policies at
national level; designated migration health focal points to
coordinate policy; bilateral and regional dialogue, including
bilateral agreements and information sharing mechanisms;
standardized social protection, data collection and medical
testing; and the inclusion of migrants’ views in the
formulation and implementation of policies and programmes.
Asian Labour Migrants and Health: Exploring Policy Routes can be
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