After the Exodus: Exploring migrant attitudes to documentation, brokerage and employment following the 2014 mass withdrawal of Cambodian workers from Thailand

Sabina Lawreniuk, Laurie Parsons

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This paper uses the exodus of Cambodian migrant workers from Thailand in June 2014 as a focal point around which to explore Cambodian migrant attitudes towards the systems of documentation and brokerage that influence their movement. From the perspective of Cambodian returnees and their families, it builds on recent work exploring narratives of brokerage by demonstrating how documentation itself — and by extension the legality of migration — is viewed through a contextual lens. Specifically, it argues that documentation is not only viewed according to the formal regulatory framework governing migration between the two countries, but forms part of a more complex structure of influences in which norms of employment and brokerage are equally prominent. From this position, the paper suggests that migrants did not only respond directly to threats of a crackdown by authorities following the 2014 coup, but were additionally influenced by the actions of employers and brokers, whose guarantees of protection — or otherwise — were seen as vitally important in their migration decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-369
Number of pages20
JournalSingapore Journal of Tropical Geography
Issue number3
Early online date5 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017

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