Public attitudes towards migrant workers in Malaysia

In 2019 the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative’s Safe and Fair (ILO and UN Women) and TRIANGLE in ASEAN (ILO) projects conducted a survey of 4,099 nationals, a follow-up to an earlier survey carried out by the ILO in 2010, to analyse changes of public attitudes towards migrant workers in Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, and adding Japan, given its emergence as an important destination country for low-skilled migrant workers in Asia. The study reveals that support for migrant workers in destination countries has decreased overall in the past nine years. The study also provides data evidence for policy making and campaign organizing to promote a more inclusive and supportive environment for migrant workers. The focus on women migrant workers’ issues in the report uncovers topics with high support from the public that can be leveraged as entry points. Where there is considerable public support for addressing violence as well as bolstering working conditions for domestic workers, policy change might be easier, with reforms that can ensure positive migration outcomes for women migrant workers.

Briefing note | 15 December 2020