What’s the incentive? ─ Comparing Regular and Irregular Migrant Work Experiences from Lao PDR to Thailand
Formal labour migration procedures are assumed to be beneficial to migrant workers in various ways, including by reducing vulnerability to abuse and exploitation. Little empirical work, however, has been conducted comparing the experiences of regular and irregular migrant workers, and assessing the outcomes of these different migration models. This report contributes to filling this gap in the study of migrant work, with a focus on the migration corridor between the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Thailand.
It provides a synthesized outline of the regulatory framework for labour migration between the two countries, evaluates that against the recruitment, work and life experiences reported by regular migrant workers, and compares these with the conditions faced by irregular migrant workers.
It strengthens the evidence base to support both countries in meeting their commitments on protecting the human rights of migrant workers. It concludes with a series of recommendations designed to address the shortcomings identified in the regular labour migration procedures between the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Thailand, and hence to make the experiences of migrant workers safer and more beneficial to the social and economic development of their communities.