This paper looks at problems and opportunities faced by three groups of children affected by international migration:
children left behind by international labour migrants from the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand
children of Thai nationals in Japan
children brought along by irregular migrants in Malaysia and Thailand.
Main findings include:
migration of parents improves the material conditions of the children left behind, which probably flows through to children’s health and schooling. The social costs are strongly mitigated by the involvement of the extended family. In the Philippines, but less so in Indonesia and Thailand, governmental and non-governmental organisations already provide a range of services for children and migrants
in Thailand, there are over 100,000 children of undocumented migrants from Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos
the children brought along to Thailand and Malaysia appear to be significantly poorer than other children in their host countries, and to have limited access to social services. In Thailand, however, current efforts to register foreign workers and their dependants may lead to improved access, at least in the short term.
attention should be focused on children brought along by undocumented migrants. Thailand’s current registration campaigns represent a major policy experiment, and the effects on children need to be carefully monitored
regulations governing the entry and exit of migrants strongly influence family migration strategies and the ability of parents to maintain contact with their children. These affects need to be taken into account when regulations are designed
there is still no conclusive evidence on whether children with absent mothers suffer more problems than children with absent fathers. Further research to fill this gap through existing household survey data is needed.