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Skill Mobility in ASEAN

Full Title : Skill Mobility from ASEAN Countries: A Cost Benefit Analysis

Funding Amount : BND 30,502

Start Date : 2018

Completion Date : 2020

Principal Investigators : Siti Mazidah Hj Mohamad and AP Dr Ahsan Ullah

Co-investigators : Dk Noor Hasharina and Mizanur Rahman

Brief Outline

Migration of skilled workers to other countries remains a highly contentious issue. Skill drain does not take place based on skill surplus and deficiency equation. Skilled migrants can make their choice to migrate on their own with minimal control of the Government. This project argues that sending countries lose skill which cannot be offset or justified by the remittances inflow. This research project will be conducted on skill mobility in and from Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Thailand Malaysia and the Philippines. In this project, skilled migrants are engineers, medical doctors, nurses, and academics. Skill migration continues to grow because of the growing demand, wage differentials, glorifications of the contribution of remittances to development and failure of the origin countries to retain them. The question remains whether the respective sending country is producing more of them so that they can send after their own demand is met. This project investigates whether the sending end can afford exporting such skills.

Brief Objectives

This project delves into a number of questions: is skill mobility is beneficial or harmful for sending and origin countries, why ASEAN nations cannot afford to lose their skilled migrants. This project will argue that losing skills from sending countries could be detrimental to the countries of origin and this loss could not be justified only by the remittances inflow.

Significance of the research

This research contributes to scholarships of migration studies. We are confident that the team will be able to build a new theoretical underpinning through this research. We will recruit some research assistants from within the UBD for this project. This will help them understand the dynamics of a research projects (literature review; data entry; data analysis; report writing, publishing, and research collaborations etc.) from this fascinating research.


We are expecting to have a few publishable papers and book out of this project. In particular, this project will contribute:

  1. To the policy level of Brunei
  2. To scholarship
  3. To the promotion of UBD through publications and research
  4. To capacity building by the fact that UBD colleagues will be joining this project and eventually they will be co-authoring.