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Labor migration from Southeast Asia to Taiwan: issues, public responses and future development

Jian-Bang Deng (Graduate Institute of Futures Studies, Tamkang University, New Taipei City, Taiwan)
Hermin Indah Wahyuni (Center for Southeast Asian Social Studies, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia)
Vissia Ita Yulianto (Center for Southeast Asian Social Studies, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia)

Asian Education and Development Studies

ISSN: 2046-3162

Article publication date: 19 May 2020

Issue publication date: 23 December 2020

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper is mainly focused on labor migration from Southeast Asia to Taiwan, showing a route of south–south mobility and discussing the causes of migrant workers in Taiwan, the issues faced by migrant workers as well as public response to migrant workers.

Design/methodology/approach

Besides a literate review on the topic of migrant worker researches in Taiwan, the data for this research was also based on qualitative interviews and observations conducted both in the fieldwork in Taiwan and in Indonesia between June and August during the summer of 2018.

Findings

The transnational mobility let many migrants from Southeast Asian countries to Taiwan end up losing their cultural capital and “make money” instead. For these migrants, they have experienced a downward social mobility of class through transnational mobility.

Research limitations/implications

Because of the chosen research approach, the research results may lack generalizability. More migrant laborers from various origin countries were encouraged to include for further research.

Practical implications

Labor migration cases from Southeast Asia to Taiwan could very well serve as good examples in the carrying out of a reflection on the limit of focusing on social science only inside nation-states in order to push a forward thinking on the transnationalization of social inequality.

Originality/value

This paper calls attention to the close linkage between transnational mobility and social inequality. It showed how the transnationalization of social inequality could get new faces through the new waves of labor migration.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper forms part of a special section “Migrant Workers in Seven Destinations: Perspectives from East and Southeast Region”, guest edited by Eric Fong and Hua Guo.This research is sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan (project numbers: MOST 106-2410-H032-055-MY2).

Citation

Deng, J.-B., Wahyuni, H.I. and Yulianto, V.I. (2021), "Labor migration from Southeast Asia to Taiwan: issues, public responses and future development", Asian Education and Development Studies, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 69-81. https://doi.org/10.1108/AEDS-02-2019-0043

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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