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Towards Freer Movement of Skilled Labour in AEC 2015 and Beyond

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Movements of skilled labour in ASEAN have been largely from the lower income labour surplus economies to the higher income labour deficit economies in response to employment and remuneration differentials. The AEC Blueprint includes the objective of free flow of skilled labour to facilitate flows in services and investment. However, free flow is obstructed by differences in qualifications, standards and language proficiency as well as by national legal provisions and policies despite MRAs on professional services and the Agreement on Movement of Natural Persons. To facilitate free flows, their net benefits have to be emphasised; MRAs and labour market access be implemented effectively; and regional differences among tertiary institutions in standards, capabilities and English language proficiency be narrowed through academic cooperation and exchanges, and joint establishment of regional centres of excellence.


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