Migrant Workers as Citizens within the ASEAN Landscape: International Law and the Singapore Experiment
Posted: 17 Mar 2009
Date Written: March 2009
Using both legal and sociological definitions of citizenship, this paper examines how the international community, ASEAN countries and Singapore have responded to the migrant worker question. The first part of this paper uses ASEAN examples and interrogates the question of migrant worker citizenship from an international legal or policy perspective, particularly recent efforts to construct a differentiated citizenship for migrant workers within destination States based on an inclusionary principle. The second part of this paper then undertakes a close case study of foreign domestic workers or “maids” in Singapore. I examine how maids are depicted as non-citizens under Singapore's law and policy, how Singaporean non-governmental organizations have sought to counter this and how the latter may be guided by internationally developed concepts of differentiated citizenship and the inclusionary principle.
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