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Perceptions of Borders and Human Migration

The Human (In)Security of Shan Migrant Workers in Thailand

Série Observatoire
Ropharat Aphijanyatham
Irasec, Bangkok, octobre 2009, 88 p.
ISBN : 978-616-90282-1-5
English Language English text



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Table of Contents



1 - Understanding Borders Perceptions and Human Security in Human Migration
2 - Research Framework
3 - Organization of the Paper


Chapter 1 - A history of borders and its influence on Shan migrant workers’ migration behaviour

1 - An Introduction to the Shan, the History of Borders and Migration Today
2 - The Contemporary Migration Situation in Northern Thailand
2.1 - Push Factors: Political and socio-economic insecurities in Burma drive more people to move to Thailand
2.2 - Pull Factors: The Availability of low-paid jobs, work for women and demographic factors in Thailand attract more people from Burma to become migrant workers
3 - An Increasing Influx of Foreign Workers in Thailand and their Macroeconomic Contribution to the Thai GDP
4 - The Migration Legal Framework in Thailand


Chapter 2 - A comparative analysis of the different perceptions of borders and of the cost-benefit assessment between the Thai government, Shan migrant workers, Thai employers and informal brokers

1 - Human Security and Migration
1.1 - Human Insecurities in Burma as Factors in Migration
1.2 - More Human Securities or Less Human Insecurities? the Post-Migration Situation in Thailand
2 - Three Actors’ Perceptions of Borders, their Cost-Benefit Assessment, and the Migration of Shan Migrant Workers
2.1 - The Thai Government’s Perception of Borders: Legal Borders vs. Social Borders
2.2 - Shan Migrant Workers’ Perception of Borders: Borderless or Ethnic Borders - An Interpretation of Socio-Economic Demand
2.3 - Thai Employers’ and Informal Brokers’ Perception of Borders: Economic Advantages from the Multi-Perceptions of Borders
2.4 - The “Acquiescent Reciprocity”: A Factor in the Migration Phenomenon
3 - Differences in the Perceptions of Borders and the Perpetuation of Illegal Migration


Summary and conclusion

1 - From the Solid Meaning of Borders by the Nation-State to the Different Perceptions of Borders by the Locals
2 – Recommendations
2.1 - Inclusion of the Different Perceptions of Borders in Policy Formulation
2.2 - The Need to Accelerate the Legal Process and to Create Coherence in Immigration and Registration Policies





As a B.A. majoring in International Relations from Thammasat University in Thailand with experience in Thailand’s Foreign Ministry, Ropharat Aphijanyatham focused her research on border issues between Myanmar and Thailand, especially the increasing movement of low-skill labor from Shan State in Myanmar into Thailand to seek jobs. She also analyzed the proposed means by which to secure their safe, legal employment across the borders with decent wages and access to some social protections, including health care and their children’s education. She has completed her Master’s Degree from Keio University, Japan and has returned to Bangkok recently in order to prepare her PhD.