MMN Releases Proceedings of the Consultation on Labour Migration from Myanmar to Japan

On 15 October 2018, Mekong Migration Network (MMN) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) jointly organised the Consultation on Labour Migration from Myanmar to Japan at the Sedona Hotel in Yangon, Myanmar. The consultation was held at a time when there was growing anticipation that Japan would liberalise its migration policy to receive increased numbers of migrants. In early 2018, the Japanese government announced its intention to recruit upwards of 500,000 foreign workers by 2025 to fill gaps in the country’s labour market. Japan considers Myanmar to be a key source of migrant workers. In April 2018, Japan and Myanmar signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) on the Technical Intern Training Program (TITP) to set commitments and responsibilities of both countries in the sending and accepting of “technical intern trainees.”

Given this background, MMN and ILO held a consultation with the aim to better understand the challenges and opportunities in the migration process from Myanmar to Japan and to jointly explore interventions and strategies to improve the efficacy of migration procedures and safety of migrants. 41 participants attended the event, including representatives from the Myanmar Ministry of Labour, Immigration, and Population (MOLIP), the Myanmar Overseas Employment Agencies Federation (MOEAF), Overseas Employment Agencies (OEAs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), a labour attaché from the Embassy of Japan in Myanmar, an expert on Japanese migration, and migrant returnees.

The three plenaries of the consultation addressed a number of topics such as trends, policies and recruitment practices of workers migrating from Myanmar to Japan, issues concerning migrants who leave their jobs in Japan without properly terminating their contracts, mechanisms for skills transfer between the two countries, available support and assistance for migrants, and actual labour conditions at work sites in Japan. Participants then examined the opportunities and challenges involved in migration from Myanmar to Japan from the perspectives of migrant workers, the governments of both countries and OEAs in Myanmar. Based on the results of the discussion, participants collectively developed a set of recommendations to improve existing protections for migrant workers.

Click here to download the full proceedings.

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