The achievement of the free flow of skilled labour in ASEAN is a key element of the AEC Blueprint, focusing on managed mobility of facilitated entry for the movement of natural persons engaged in the trade in goods, services and investment. The AEC Blueprint explicitly addresses the need for the free flow of skilled labour. However, although the Blueprint identified four ‘action’ areas for working toward a freer flow of professionals and skilled labour, it does not offer a clear strategy or pathway that can enable cross-agency actions to facilitate this objective.
The current situation suggests there are varying degrees of commitment to the liberalisation necessary for paving the way to a freer flow of skilled human resources under ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS) across Member States. While the ASEAN sectoral bodies have variously initiated efforts to facilitate the free flow of skilled human resources and AMS have worked toward packages of commitments, a comprehensive overview of the current status of these developments does not exist. Moreover, there is no clear picture of the linkages across the sectoral bodies involved nor yet a plan for addressing problems in an integrated, efficient and effective manner.
This study discusses:
- Identification and assessment of current issues and challenges facing the liberalisation of the free flow of skilled labour across AMS;
- Identification of issues and options for the work-plans of relevant ASEAN cross-sectoral bodies as an approach for addressing issues and challenges related to the free flow of skilled labour across AMS; and,
- Indicative recommendations and approaches for AMS to address issues and challenges towards the achievements of the free flow of skilled labour.