The ‘gold standard’ for labour export? The role of civil society in shaping multi-level Philippine migration policies
The Philippines has received continuous praise for its ‘highly developed’ migration policies and promotes those as the ‘gold standard’ for the deployment and protection of labour migrants. These policies are obviously not negotiated exclusively within the container of the nation state. In this article, I will therefore employ an analytical framework for the politics of migration policies that is multi-stakeholder and multi-level. The multiple levels discussed will reach from the national/transnational to the regional/transregional (Association of Southeast Asian Nations – ASEAN, Colombo Process, Abu Dhabi Dialogue) and global (Global Forum on Migration and Development – GFMD, Global Compact) level. Major stakeholders addressed are the nation state(s) involved, the migration industry and migrant civil society. In particular, migrant civil society has a long tradition of engagement in the Philippines and mirrors the multiple levels of government engagement to further its advocacy. My main argument is therefore that regardless of the political regime in place, and despite internal fractions and cleavages, migrant civil society has been a constant and major contributing factor to the ‘gold standard’ of Philippine migration policies.