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APMRN UPDATE No 5, December 1997

Articles in this issue:


2nd APMRN International Conference

Hong Kong University's Centre of Asian Studies will host the 2nd international conference of the APMRN. The conference/workshop will run for 3 days from the 23rd to the 25th of February 1998. Up to 20 participants from APMRN member countries will be invited to participate. The conference is open to all persons working or interested in migration research and ethno-cultural diversity in the Asia Pacific.

The conference will generate a series of research proposals from APMRN members, and will also hold a special session on legal aspects of migration. APMRN members and other participants are invited to submit a working paper on the theme, considering issues of migration law-making and regulation within countries of the Asia Pacific.

The conference will also hold a session for policy makers and donor agencies, highlighting the Network as an organisation well placed to carry out research and expert policy advice.

For more information on the conference, please contact Patrick Brownlee at the APMRN Secretariat, University of Wollongong, 2522, Australia. Ph: +61 2 4221 3171; Email: apmrn@uow.edu.au

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Korean Migration Team

News from Professor Hyunho Seok of Sung Kyun Kwan University recently reported that the Korean Migration Team had won a grant to carry out migration research. The Centre for Future Human Resource Studies in Seoul granted over US $10,000 for a review of exisitng research material on international migrant workers in Korea.

Four review papers will be produced concerning Government policies on international labour migration, labour relations of migrant workers, social and psychological adjustment of migrant workers, and the establishment of social networks and communities amongst these workers.

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News from Malaysia

Tey Nai Peng reported some time ago that the Population Studies Unit at the University of Malaya had won funding for a project on Socio-economic and political implications of international migration in urban areas of Malaysia. Fieldwork is expected to being by the end of 1997.

Meanwhile, a workshop to formally launch the Malaysian Network was held on the 24th of November this year. Dr Shamsulbahriah of the Population Studies Unit organised the workshop, addressing both thematic issues of migration research in Malaysia, and also the structure of the Malaysian Network.

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China Holds Migration Workshops

In October 1997, Dr Huang Ping, coordinator of the Chinese Migration Research Network, organised two excellent workshops in Shanghai and Guangzhou. Dr Robyn Iredale, from the APMRN Secretariat at, Wollongong University, participated in the workshops and was excited by the nature of the research that is occurring within China. The workshops were funded through a grant from the Japan Foundation.

The Shanghai Workshop was attended by 13 people who are doing a range of research on both internal and international migration. A recent development is the establishment of a Centre for International Migration at the Population Institute, East China Normal University, Shanghai. The Centre has a brief for a large ongoing project to assist Shanghai and China to manage flows of international migrants. Two aspects are of particular interest to the Centre: comparative study of the migration policies and laws of other countries and history of migration from China (esp Shanghai) since 1979 to major destinations (Canada, US, Australia, NZ, etc).

Another topic that was discussed is the `Social and Economic Impacts of Female Migration from China to Japan'. This is emerging as a very important issue as young rural women from coastal parts of China are paying large amounts of money to go to Japan. The Philippines experience could contribute to this research.

The Guangzhou Workshop was attended by 20 people and was held in a beautiful old house on the campus. Most of the researchers appear to be working in Guangdong province on various aspects of internal migration-social, political, cultural aspects of the huge floating population in this province. Particular areas, especially Shenzhen, are attracting a great deal of interest as problems of social instability, high crime rate, lack of identity, lack of security, lack of rights, etc have emerged as important. Issues relating to the migration of females have attracted more attention than elsewhere. Research is also being done on the links with source regions and the effects on sources.

The next Chinese workshop will be held in Beijing. Papers will be presented on internal migration and the population, economic, environmental and social/cultural impacts.

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UNESCO-MOST Pacific Social Science Research Network Established

A UNESCO-MOST Conference on the Management of Social Transformations in the South Pacific Region has decided to establish a Pacific Social Science Research Network focussing on migration and urban development. The Conference, held in Fiji from 13-16 October 1997, was attended by social scientists and government officials from many nations in the region including Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Australia. Stephen Castles represented the APMRN Secretariat at the meeting.

The meeting was hosted by the Suva Campus of the University of the South Pacific (USP), and the Acting Vice-Chancellor of USP, Professor Rajesh Chandra, played an active role in the deliberations of the conference. Professor Chandra has participated the work of APMRN in the Pacific region for some time, and was a delegate to our Bangkok meeting in 1996.

The Conference debated the major social transformations occurring in the region. Economic, cultural and environmental changes are linked to urbanisation and major shifts in life-styles. Many Pacific islanders are migrating overseas, either temporarily or permanently. Some islands now have large shares of their populations - sometimes the majority - living in New Zealand or the USA. A number of island nations are also experiencing in-migration of skilled personnel or business people from Asian countries, further complicating the complex ethnic balances left by colonialism. Both in- and out-migration accelerate change, with significant effects on cultural maintenance and national identity

The Conference went on to discuss the role of social science research in improving understanding of the changes and in providing data and policy options for decision-makers. An urgent need for improved communication and collaboration between social scientists was identified. The delegates of the Conference therefore decided to establish a Pacific Network for Social Science Research within the framework of the UNESCO-MOST Program. Professor Chandra promised the support of USP in coordinating the network, and offered Fiji $5000 as initial funding. It was agreed that the new Network would seek support from UNESCO and other agencies.

The Conference identified two key areas for research for the Network: urban development and migration. Stephen Castles suggested that the migration research activities could be linked to the work of the APMRN - a proposal which was welcomed by the Conference. It is hoped the establishment of the Pacific Network for Social Science Research will lead to an improvement of research capabilities and a growth in research activity in the region.

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Taiwan Partnership With APMRN

While Taiwan is not an official member of the APMRN, Professor Ching-lung Tsay of Academica Sinica, Taiwan, has maintained a separate partnership with the Network.

Recently, Professor Tsay informed the Secretariat that an application to the CCK Foundation for support to form a Taiwanese Migration Research Network had been approved. The grant is approximately $US 75,000 for the two year period from July 97 to June 99.

The Taiwanese work will be independent from the APMRN, but will conduct research and activities compatible with APMRN programs.

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APMRN and Vietnam

Following a visit to the University of Wollongong in July 1997, Professor Mac Duong of the Institute of Social Sciences, Ho Chi Minh City has expressed an interest in participating in the APMRN.

An invitation has been extended to Professor Mac Duong to attend the APMRN conference in Hong Kong in February '98 and to present a paper on migration issues in Vietnam.

The ISSHO is a multi-disciplinary institute, belonging to the National Centre for Social Sciences & Humanities of Vietnam. It produces a quarterly social science journal and runs teaching and research programs.

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UN Symposium on Migration

In June-July 1998, the UN will host a Technical Symposium on International Migration. The APMRN will be represented at the conference, and the APMRN Secretariat has been involved in planning a number of sessions.

The conference is an important development in acknowledging migration as a major issue throughout the world. Themes to be covered at the symposium include international migration and development; migrant integration; responding to assylum seekers; migrants employed in irregular work; and re-evaluating issues of female migration.

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Asia 2000 Foundation Sponsors New Zealand Research

The Asia 2000 foundation has funded a project being carried out by members of the Aotearoa-New Zealand Migration Research Network. The Asia 2000 Foundation is an independent grant-making trust set up by the New Zealand Government in September, 1994.

The project, "Entrepreneurial Strategies of Hong Kong Chinese Business Migrants to New Zealand," is a 12 month study examining the flow of business migrants between the two countries and the implications for New Zealand immigration policy. The research will focus on analysis of New Zealand Immigration Department data, as well as a series of interviews with business migrants.

The University of Waikato, New Zealand and the University of Hong Kong, are also supporting the project financially. Dr Elsie Ho and Prof. Richard Bedford from New Zealand, and Prof. Wong Siu-lun from Hong Kong are collaborating on the project. All are members of the APMRN.

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Please direct comments and questions to: APMRN@anu.edu.au
Last update: 13/10/05