This chapter discusses protection issues that have emerged as migrants moved within South Asia and from South Asia2 to the major migrant-receiving destinations in South-East Asia and the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC).3 The discussion is, thus, based on the specific features of this region’s labour migration, and policies and practices accompanying it. Using a social sciences approach, the chapter also emphasizes a human rights framework. It begins by outlining the effects of predominant migration policies on migrant workers’ human rights and outlines specific rights violations, and follows with a discussion on normative and institutional issues that pertain to rights-based governance of migration. The final section considers the role of civil society in the promotion of migrant workers’ rights.

The chapter focuses on the international movement of migrants rather than internal displacement or internal migration. It neither looks at the movements of migrants further afield to Australia, Europe, North America, and other regions, nor in detail at the movement of refugees from and within this region.


2 The countries situated in South-West Asia, namely Iran and Turkey, are not extensively covered in this chapter as their migration patterns are significantly different from those in the countries of South Asia. Although, references are made to them in certain sections, particularly in the discussion about international legal instruments.

3 The member States of the GCC are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.