Feb Bulletin: Claiming the right to rest

Publications, events, and news from February about low-waged labour migration in Asia. Like what you read? Subscribe here.

Claiming the right to rest

How are migrants’ rights secured in Singapore? We examine this question through the three I’s–ideas, interests, and institutions. Our latest article in Global Social Policy argues that the success behind the day off policy for migrant domestic workers is due to activists’ ability to frame ideas surrounding migrant rights claims in a way that strikes a chord with dominant logics, the state’s own interests in maintaining a ready flow of migrant labour supply for Singapore, and a backdrop of institutional readiness to enact change.

Many migrant domestic workers spend time at Keramat Dormitory in Singapore before being placed with employers. Photo credit: Grace Baey

In conversation: debt, migration, and domestic work

“If the maid wants to leave, who is holding the bomb?” How do we make sense of the precariousness of a debt-financed migration system? In many parts of Southeast Asia, migrant domestic workers are unable to afford the upfront costs of migration–they are able to migrate only through the promise of a prospective employer’s prospective loan. Money trickles like a delta through time and space, winding through the employer, the agent, and the worker, criss-crossing the border between Singapore and Indonesia. We untangle the multiple meanings of debt by tracking the flow of money through Singapore’s migration industry in an upcoming talk at Yale-NUS.

The news, condensed

An important upcoming forum gives us a chance to engage with the Singapore government on issues of human trafficking in Singapore. 16 March 2017, 4:30 – 6:00 pm, College of Alice and Peter Tan.

Remittances aren’t enough to lift communities out of poverty. Our latest policy brief tells us why Indonesia needs to care about supporting young people’s access to education and jobs, even in migrant-sending communities.

Tom White publishes an extensive behind-the-scenes peek into the training facilities that host prospective domestic workers before they come to Singapore. The photo essay is accompanied by an excellent interview.

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