Omitted from the Safety Net: How Migrant Workers Experience and Understand “Social Protection” in East and Southeast Asia

In this report, we examin social protection schemes available to migrant workers in Asia following our research in four different destinations for migrants (Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia and Hong Kong). We also reflect on the experiences of those migrating from four origin countries (Indonesia, Nepal, India, and the Philippines). We began our project wanting to answer the following three questions. What kind of social protection programmes are currently available for migrant workers? What are the main obstacles to accessing these? How can we overcome these obstacles? For our project we employed Participatory Action Research (PAR) through which migrant workers, migrant activists, academics and civil society practitioners ran the whole research process including developing the research design, collecting data, and the coding process. This report is organised as follows: first, in the remainder of this introduction, we briefly review the existing literature on social protection for migrants; secondly, we explain our research process; thirdly, we discuss our findings from the four destination countries; and lastly, we offer suggestions and recommendations as to how social protection can be more inclusive for migrant workers. We then end this report with some concluding remarks under the heading ‘Social Protection from Below’.