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Managing labour migration: The case of the Filipino and Indonesian domestic helper market in Hong Kong 21

5.2 A changing context; a need for a new framework

While the aforementioned international instruments are comprehensive in nature, the labor migration phenomenon today is far more complex and pervasive then when these frameworks were first proposed. As observed in Hong Kong’s FDH market, the role of the state in recruiting migrant labor has decreased, whereas the importance of private

agents and intermediaries has Women in Motion, migration for

increased substantially. employment has become

Moreover, as discussed in progressively feminized with

transnational female laborers saturating sectors such as domestic epitomized by a strong bond of subordination between employer and

work –areas employee and

requiring particular



consideration26. Furthermore, of labor migration and





there has been an heightening of changing context,

increase in the irregular (or states are now

trying more than ever to strike a balance between facilitating labor protecting transnational workers within their migration infrastructure.



5.3 Policy analysis framework

This report defines migration infrastructure as a system of institutions that facilitate the migration and the welfare protection of transnational workers. Institutions can be commercial or public and include bilateral agreements, multilateral conventions, government agencies that regulate recruitment and/or provide group insurance, private employment agencies, skills testing or training centers, medical testing facilities, travel centers, money transfer agencies, conciliation and mediation services for migrant- employer or migrant-employment agency grievances, etc.

In order for states to further develop and manage a migration infrastructure, they are obliged to collect fees from the various stakeholders (i.e. recruitment agencies, employers and migrant workers) thereby promoting a shared responsibility for the protection of this vulnerable and mobile population. The varying capacities, constraints and policy priorities among different states have resulted in a range of migration infrastructures.

5.3.1 Typology of migration infrastructures

An underlying assumption of this policy analysis is that exacting fees from stakeholders allows states to support institutions that protect migrant workers. Accordingly, this paper classifies a state as having a high migration infrastructure when the government collects various fees from stakeholders and provides greater access to social protection services for migrant workers relative to a state with a lower migration infrastructure.

26 Nana Oishi, 2005. The feminization of migration simply refers to a migration phenomenon which has seen the rise of women independently migrating for work.

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