Migrant Workers as Citizens within the ASEAN Landscape: International Law and the Singapore Experiment

Posted: 17 Mar 2009

See all articles by W.L. Cheah

W.L. Cheah

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: March 2009

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Cheah, W.L., Migrant Workers as Citizens within the ASEAN Landscape: International Law and the Singapore Experiment (March 2009). Chinese Journal of International Law, Vol. 8, Issue 1, pp. 205-231, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1359999 or http://dx.doi.org/jmn041

W.L. Cheah (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law ( email )

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