The regulation of professional migration in ASEAN - insights from the health and IT sectors

Vol: 
2006/08
Author name: 
Chris Manning
Alexandra Sidorenko
Year: 
2006
Month: 
January
Abstract: 

This study assesses the extent of regulation of in-migration of professionals into ASEAN countries. The focus is on two selected sectors, health care and information technology (IT). Both sectors have been given special attention in regional trade negotiations which seek to increase the mobility of professionals in ASEAN. The study is set in the framework of rising demand for more skilled manpower, associated with rapid economic growth and a high income elasticity of demand for services. We develop measures to assess the extent of regulation of in-migration in recipient countries, as well as the depth of commitments to the mobility of professionals under Mode 4. The study links several indices of regulation to stages of economic development. It finds that the more advanced countries in ASEAN tend to have made more liberal commitments under Mode 4. They also had more liberal regimes for international movements of skilled manpower in both health and IT. However there was less difference between more and less developed countries regarding general visa and work permit arrangements. Finally, because of their greater social significance, regulations related to the migration of health professionals tended to be more restrictive than for IT professionals.

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