Advancing the Right to Freedom of Movement in the AEC Framework:What the AEC can Learn from the EU

Author:Panthip Pruksacholavit
Position:Chulalongkorn University - Thailand
Pages:474-501
e Indonesian Journal of International & Comparative Law
ISSN: 2338-7602; E-ISSN: 2338-770X
http://www.ijil.org
© 2014 e Institute for Migrant Rights Press
rst published online 22 April 2014
474
is article was presented at the 1st Asian Conference on Politics, Economics and Law
(the International Academic Forum, Japan, Nov.23, 2013). e author would like to
take this opportunity to record her appreciation to all of the participants in the event for
their valuable discussions and comments. e author also owes many thanks to Kathryn
Swiss for her assistance in editing. Special gratitude is also extended to Pranoto Iskandar
and the anonymous reviewers for their useful comments on an earlier draft.
ADVANCING THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF
MOVEMENT IN THE AEC FRAMEWORK
WHAT THE AEC CAN LEARN FROM THE EU
PANTHIP PRUKSACHOLAVIT
Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
E-mail: p.panthip@hotmail.com
e AEC, scheduled to be established in 2015, will promote skilled labor mobility
among the ASEAN Member Countries. ere is convincing evidence that establishing
the AEC (along with the skilled labor mobility provisions) could bring benets to
the ASEAN Member Countries. Yet some criticism of the AEC’s potential ecacy
exists. However, surprisingly few scholars have debated about the prociency of the
provisions. is article neither examines the costs and benets of the AEC agreement
nor provides conclusions as to which professions should or should not be included
in the agreement. Rather, this article examines whether the skilled labor mobility
provisions introduced by the AEC are pragmatic. e focus here also centers on
indicating potential obstacles to skilled labor mobility. e main argument of this
article is that the skilled labor movement provisions of the AEC will facilitate skilled
workers who have already planned to seek employment and relocate to another
country. Yet notwithstanding this facilitation, this article holds that the provisions do
not provide many incentives to encourage mobility among other skilled workers who
still reside in their home country. us, the labor mobility rate among the ASEAN
Member Countries will not substantially increase because of these provisions. is
is because the national legal systems, (which are not compatible with the mobility
policies), discourage worker migration because of barriers such as lack of recognition
of qualications, insucient information provided for workers, and the nature of
Panthip Pruksacholavit
ADVANCING THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT IN THE AEC FRAMEWORK: What the AEC Can Learn From The EU
475
social structure. Facilitation for the practical aspects of labor mobility is needed
in order to successfully increase the eectiveness of the provisions. e theoretical
approach utilized in this project is comparative methodology. is project utilizes a
legal analysis as well as subsequent critical comparison to put forward solutions to
increase the eectiveness of the labor mobility provisions.
Keywords: Skilled Labor Mobility, Labor Movement, ASEAN Economic Community
(AEC), ASEAN, Comparative Law
I. INTRODUCTION
It is evident that economic integration can lead to greater economic
benets, especially in countries with weak bargaining power. is is
because integration has the potential to eliminate barriers to trade and
investment as well as the potential to coordinate monetary and scal
policies. ere are currently numerous regional economic integrations,
such as the European Union (EU), the North America Free Trade Area
(NAFTA), the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West
African States (ECOWAS) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN). ASEAN is ageo-political economic organization consisting of
ten countries located inSoutheast Asia.1 It aims to increase investment
and economic opportunities within the region and enable members to
compete with regional competitors, such as China and India, and other
countries outside Asia.2 In particular, ASEAN attempts to build a single
market with a strong central executive comparable to the EU, with a well-
developed body of laws and dispute settlement mechanisms similar to
those of NAFTA.
In the past, the development of the ASEAN Economic Region was
not as competitive as in other regions. is is due to factors, such as
the limitation of production capacity and supply, a low distribution
of services from service suppliers, as well as weakness of professional
capabilities. To solve these problems, ASEAN plans to establish the
1. ASEAN was formed on August 8, 1967, by Indonesia, Malaysia, the
Philippines,Singapore andailand. Since then, membership has expanded to
includeBrunei,Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia,Laos, and Vietnam.
2. See A  S A N (ASEAN), http://www.asean.
org/ (last visited Aug. 1, 2013).

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