For Safe and Healthy Migration Journey


1. Introduction

Migrants’ Health is a top priority of the ASEAN Health Sector under the ASEAN Post 2015 Health Development Agenda, specifically, the ASEAN Health Cluster (AHC 3) on Strengthening Health Systems and Access to Care. Under AHC 3’s programme objective “To enhance health systems’ capacity and capability to seek to improve services for documented migrants and including migrant workers, mothers/women and children (special populations)”, activities include a) Conduct of Cross-border Knowledge Exchange Workshop to share the migration patterns, migrant health profiles and health vulnerabilities, health services for migrants and; b) Assessment of health services access disparities and inequity across ‘vulnerable’ populations including single female headed household returnees. The ASEAN Post 2015 Health Development Agenda 2021-2025, along with the ASEAN Health Cluster Work Programmes, was adopted during the 15th ASEAN Health Ministers Meeting (AHMM) on 14 May 2022 in Bali, Indonesia.

To operationalise the adopted activity under AHC 3  on Cross-border Knowledge Exchange Workshop, the International Workshop on Migration and Health for Migrants in ASEAN was conceptualised. This is led by Viet Nam in collaboration with ASEAN Member States, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the World Health Organization (WHO).

2. Background

The World Migration Report (IOM, 2022) showed that the  number of international migrants was estimated to be 281 million in 2020, accounting for about 3.6% of the world’s total population. Among these migrants, 48% were female (135 million). Migration flows are primarily from the North to the South, from the South to the South, and from developing countries to developed countries. Two-thirds of international migrants reside in Europe and Asia, with a significant number (106 million) being born in Asia.The leading destination countries in the world in 2020 included the United States, Germany, Saudi Arabia and the Russian Federation. Migration is driven by various reasons such as study, marriage, adoption, but work remains the primary motive. In 2019,  an estimated 169 million international labor migrants existed worldwide[1].

ASEAN is one of the most dynamic regionsglobally, with a population of 676 million people in 2022 and a natural increase of 0.8%[2]. According to the United Nations, ASEAN had 10,2 million international migrants, with female migrants accounting for 46.8%. The countries with the largest number of international migrants in ASEAN are Thailand (3.6 million), Malaysia (3.4 million), and Singapore (2.2 million). The median age of international migrants in ASEAN is 32.4 years, with Malaysia having the youngest median age (28.3 years) and Singapre the highest (39.4 years)[3]

Viet Nam has a population of nearly 100 million people, with a yearly growth rate of more than 1%. Viet Nam is not only an origin country but also one of the emerging destinations for international migrants worldwide, especially in the context of integration and globalization.

Migration brings advantages such as contributing significantly to economic growth, technology transfer, cultural exchange, and promoting cooperation amongs countries and regions worldwide. In 2020,  international remittances accounted to US$702 billion, with low- and middle-income countries receiving US$540 billion, accounting for 77% of the total. The Phillippines, Viet Nam, Indonesia, Thailand, and Myanmar were among the top 20 receipient countries of international remittances in Asia within ASEAN Member States[4].

On the other hand, migration, including internal and international migration, also presents disadvantages and challences for both origin and destination countries. These challenges include labor shortages in  origin countries, limited access to social services, safety and- security issues, healthcare and disease control, particularly during public health emergencies. Migrants are a vulnerable population facing barriers in accessing social services such as education, employment, healthcare, housing, clean water and security.

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM, 2018) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030, along with World Health Assembly Resolutions No. 61.17 (2008) and 70.15 (2017), focus on the health of migrants and refugees. These call upon all member states, including ASEAN Member States, to work together to promote principles of UHC, shared responsibility, and public health approaches to improve the health of migrants and host communities. The ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers in 2007, followed by the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of the Migrant Workers in 2017, highlighted the urgency of establishing a framework for migrant workers. Under the ASEAN Health Sector, the ASEAN Framework on the Health Coverage of Documented Migrants including Migrant Workers and Special Populations and the Migration and Health: Case Studies in ASEAN are being consulted with the ASEAN Health Ministers for adoption.

To strengthen cooperation among ASEAN Member States and enhance understanding of migration in ASEAN, the health systems relevant to migrants, and access to health services for migrants, the Interntaional Workshop on Migration and Health for Migrants in ASEAN is proposed to be conducted in June 2023. The workshop is led by Viet Nam in collaboration with ASEAN Member States, IOM, WHO, and other national, regional and global stakeholders. The Workshop will utilise both face-to-face and online formats. 

3. Objectives:

– To identify the current situation and trends of migration in the region and the world and its impacts on socio-economic development.

– To share lesson learned, initiatives and policy recommendations for promoting the health of migrants in ASEAN.

–  To strengthen regional cooperation for promoting the health of migrants.

The workshop proceedings will be complied into a report and presented at the ASEAN Senior Official Meeting on Helth Development (SOMHD) in 2023. The report and all presentations will be widely shared among ASEAN Member States, development partners, workshop participants, and any individuals or organizations interested in this issue.

4. Contents: 

Four sessions as per the tentative agenda

– Session 1: Opening & Overview: Representatives of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, United Nations and host state – Viet Nam, will deliver important messages on migration and migrant health. An overview of migration (status, trends, challenges) in the world and ASEAN will be presented during this session.

– Session 2: Migrant Health Development: The session will focus on the global and regional migrant health framework, providing an overview of experiences from around the world in promoting the health of migrants. Case studies on migration and health in ASEAN will be presented and discussed.

– Session 3: Promoting the Health of Migrants: Country examples: The session will discuss the promotion of migrants’ health in ASEAN. The policies, programmes, experiences, best practices, models and initiatives of ASEAN Member States will be shared and discussed.

– Session 4: Cooperation & Policy Recommendation: The session will facilitate discussions on the role and participation of migrants in cultural and socio-economic development in destination country. It will also explore how AMS can collaborate with ASEAN and development partners in addressing the health of migrants as well as migration in general, to achieve of the goals of ASEAN health development agenda, GCM and SDGs by 2030.

5. Methodology:

The workshop will be a hybrid event, offering both in-person and online/virtual participation options All participants, including those attending online, will have access to the discussion sessions.

6. Date & Venue:

– Expected date: 26th June 2023

– Venue: Ha Noi, Viet Nam

7. Languages:  

English, Vietnamese.

8. Speakers:

– Representatives from ASEAN Member States and partners such as Japan, Republic of Korea, IOM, WHO, and more.

9. Participants:

Participants will include policy makers, state managers, official, service providers, and researchers involved in migration, health, population and international cooperation..

– ASEAN Member States and Timor Leste (2 participants in-person in Ha Noi; Online is opened for any participant who is interested and accepted to attend the workshop);

– ASEAN Secretariat;

– Embassies of ASEAN Member States and Timor Leste in Ha Noi;

– Embassies of Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, Germany, USA, Arab Saudi, and more.

– UN Agencies.

– International organizations, institutes, universities, private sector, mass media and other stake-holders.

To register, please register by following the link below:

[1] IOM, World Migration Report 2022

[2]Population Reference Bureau, World Population Datasheet 2022

[3]United Nations, International Migration 2019 Wallchart

[4]IOM, World Migration Report 2022

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