Magnifying the Reality of the Domestic Wanderer

This op-ed is part of AASYP’s Digital Dialogues 2022, which is a programme that aims to provide a platform and forum for future leaders from across the region to contribute to the policymaking and diplomacy sphere by engaging in issues relating to innovation and investment, digital economy, and regional mobility.

Individuals frequently migrate to wander, yet some have an in-depth purpose to relocate from one region to another. Domestic migration is the movement of individuals inside a nation from one specific place to another to live and work. It is a central political and economic problem in the Philippines, as it is in most of Asia’s developing countries. Indeed, population shifts within countries occur due to social, economic, and demographic variables in established and developing regions. In that sense, domestic migration contributes substantially to national development and is a critical factor that influences economic efficiency; thus, there is a need to evaluate the characteristics, motivation, and socioeconomic impacts that affect their decision to migrate to urban areas.

Once migration patterns have begun, additional variables unrelated to the initial causes of migration might be used to explain why migration movements continue over time. There are three main theories presented to support this claim. Every time there are individuals present and forming connections, Network Theory is there. In the matter of migration, individuals migrate to new areas to establish new relationships and maintain existing ones. In addition, the Neo-Classical Economic Theory idea contends that regional wage disparities are the primary driver of labour mobility. Although regional disparities in labour supply and demand contribute to these pay discrepancies, other elements, such as labour force or the level of worker organisation, could also be significant. Neo-classical economics may be used to explain domestic migration, showing that regions with a high labour supply have a low equilibrium wage. In contrast, those with a high labour supply have a high equilibrium wage. Finally, the Relative Deprivation Theory argues that migration decisions are driven by reducing relative deprivation rather than increasing absolute income because migration is a choice, and people’s choices are impacted by their degree of pleasure or deprivation compared to the group they belong to.

The plurality of migrant domestic workers are natives of agricultural and rural regions who wish to work in urban areas or cities. Given the number of migrants seeking opportunities, the loss of residents from rural regions impacts rural development and economic growth. This reduces work productivity in terms of harvesting and planting crops. Following that, due to insufficient education in their origin, some people may not have the chance to attend school. 

As a result, many migrants are wholly illiterate and uneducated, are not only unsuitable for the majority of employment but also lack fundamental knowledge and life skills. Furthermore, aggravating the plight of migrants, migrant residents struggle to live owing to a lack of fresh air and a natural environment, and they are obligated to pay for everything. With that, slum areas in cities expanded, which made a myriad of issues worse, including violence, pollutants, and unhygienic conditions. And a significant demographic imposes an undue strain on the environment, facilities, and services.

These problems were not exclusively the responsibility of domestic migrants, but instead of the system as a whole. First and foremost, everyone should have access to high-quality education. Diplomats from Australia, ASEAN, and the government can work together on the ground to provide support for the equipment and materials required to enhance education in rural communities across Australia and the ASEAN region. In that regard, graduates from the region may compete in their professional fields without becoming more of an economic burden on the nation. They can serve as a springboard for transformation in the progression. Furthermore, citizens would benefit from career counselling since it would provide them with the potential to get an awareness of the requirements in the professional sector and practical occupation they choose to pursue. Next, since employment has been a major issue in every country, especially in low-income developing countries. The international partnerships contribute to globalisation, providing more business opportunities in the country and increasing employment. In addition, in tackling this problem, it is critical to be flexible and adaptive. For instance, the government may re-engage employees in the labour market by offering a suite of services, including delivery, mobility, and financial services, which is currently popular and essential. Finally, offering a skills development program and exposure to e-commerce and entrepreneurship might help individuals prepare for transitions to new economic prospects. The government should take the initiative to keep their region’s peace and social prosperity so that people choose to live there. They should tighten security, and people should receive the treatment they deserve.

Domestic migration will continue to exist as long as people feel inadequate in their current circumstances. Australia and ASEAN member states should work together to mitigate the detrimental effects of these issues on their area. Furthermore, migrants should be protected, emigration pressures should be reduced, and nations of origin, transportation, and destination should collaborate on migration issues.

This article was written by Alleah Jaucian, edited by the Diplomacy Team, and reviewed by the AASYP Publications Team.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this op-ed are solely those of the writer and in no way represent nor reflect the position of AASYP and members of the AASYP Publications Team. The AASYP Horizons Blog provides a platform for the free expression of opinions and intellectual discourse.

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