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Journal article

Trade in labour services and migrant worker protection with special reference to East Asia




C. W. Stahl


This article argues that the East Asia international labour market is best viewed as bisected along productivity lines. Within this market,the labour-exporting countries of East Asia provide the overwhelming proportion of low-skilled migrant workers to the region, and are responding to perceived advantages of a policy of labour export. On the other hand, the movement of highly-skilled and professional (HSP) workers is best viewed as the result of globalization and the internationalization of education, training and the professions, rather than the result of explicit labour export policies of specific countries. The central concern of the article is that protection of migrant workers is also bisected along productivity lines with HSP workers given special consideration under international policy, while measures to protect and facilitate the movement of low-skilled workers are virtually non-existent. Various policy measures are suggested that might be employed to advance the cause of migrant worker protection in East Asia. [References: 22]

Journal title

International Migration



File Attachments


Economic sectors

General relevance - all sectors

Content types

Policy analysis

Target groups


Geographical focuses

Regional relevance

Spheres of activity

Economics and Management of human resources