AMC Overview PDF Print E-mail
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66 Tong Mei Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong
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AMC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations.


Information, learning and knowledge centre on Asian Migration.

Based in Hong Kong, the Asian Migrant Centre (AMC) operates as "learning and knowledge centre based on communities of practice".

As a learning and knowledge centre, AMC provides information, monitoring, research, publishing and knowledge-oriented services. Being grounded on communities of practice (CoP's) that specialise on specific aspects of Asian labour migration, AMC provides "people development" services that help build and strengthen the CoPs. These include training, organisaitonal development support and facilitation of joint analysis in order to strengthen the work and advocacies of CoP's/partners for the promotion of the human rights, empowerment and agendas of migrant workers and their families in Asia.


AMC shares a common vision with migrants and advocates for the building of humane, just, pluralistic, and democratic societies founded on the principles of human rights, social justice, gender equity, non-discrimination, sustainability, and people’s participation. It believes that the pursuit of development and the conduct of social affairs should always be premised on the upholding of human dignity, strengthening of families and communities, and the promotion of each person’s full potential.


AMC’s primary goal is to promote the human rights, dignity and empowerment of migrant workers and their families in Asia, so that they are able to assert and defend their rights and interests, and become partners in sustainable, just and gender-fair social development. To further this aim, AMC has implemented the following primary programs with the objectives of promoting migrants’ human rights and capability building, promoting migrant savings for alternative investments towards migrants’ economic and social empowerment, and research & publishing to monitor the current situation of migrants throughout Asia.


1. Migrants Human Rights Programme (MHR)
2. Migrant Domestic Workers Programme (MDW)
3. Mekong Migration Programme (MM)
4. Migration and Development Programme (MD)

Migrants Human Rights (MHR) Programme

Despite significant gains in international standards on migrants human rights, there is a tremendous “gap” between such standards and the daily struggles and realities of migrants’ working and living conditions. Combined with numerous other factors, a key obstacle to the overall improvement in the situation of MHR is the fact that many migrant workers and migrant support groups have limited awareness, capability, energy and resources to actively advocate for migrants human rights. AMC’s Migrants Human Rights (MHR) Program works in partnership with advocates in the region to increase the “critical mass” of organizations advocating for MHR, strengthen region-wide mechanisms to document rights violations, and improve the capabilities, skills and conceptual and practical understandings of advocates on using MHR standards.

The MHR program strives to fulfill AMC’s strategic objectives of working with the Asian migration advocacy network, the Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) to promote the use of migrants human rights standards and the practice of monitoring, documenting, reporting and redressing migrants’ rights violations among a broad base of migrant workers’ organizations and their support groups in Asia. AMC works to produce resource materials for training advocates in using MHR standards and documenting and reporting rights violations. These advocates are for the most part members of the MFA network, which is an Asia-wide network of over 200 migrants organizations and advocates.

In addition to MFA, AMC’s key partners for the MHR Program’s local work in Hong Kong is the Coalition for Migrants Rights (CMR)—an umbrella organization of seven migrant workers’ organizations and unions. At the international level, AMC has worked as a key contact point for the MFA network for networks such as Migrants Rights International and the Global Campaign for the Ratification of the Migrants Convention.

The MHR Program is currently in the process of developing a regular course for MFA and its partners on fundamental concepts, principles, standards of MHR and how to systematically document, monitor & report Migrants Rights Violations (MRVs). AMC is working in conjunction with MFA to establish a systematic Asia-wide monitoring, documenting and reporting process on MRVs and on government compliance with MHR standards. AMC also works in building the capabilities of migrants’ organizations in organizational development and strategic planning.

The Program works with its partners to monitor and analyze how key Asian governments adopt and/or comply with international human rights standards, such as the UN Durban Declaration and Platform of Action, the UN Convention for the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, CEDAW, ICERD, the ILO core conventions, and the ILO conventions on migration for employment and forced labor. AMC provides assistance to grassroots groups and unions to make joint submissions to key UN and ILO working groups and treaty bodies. In the coming years, AMC will focus particularly on working with MFA to monitor the imminent treaty body that will be established for the UN Migrants Convention.

In addition, the MHR Program conducts in-depth studies and research on strategic topics related to labor migration standards, responses and strategies. A key research for the 2003-2006 period is a research on the health and well-being of migrant workers, which will aim to build the foundation for continued and long-term response by migrant advocates in Asia on health issues.

Asian Migrant Yearbook (AMY)

One of main activities of the MHR Program is the publishig of the Asian Migrant Yearbook (AMY).

AMY is a joint publication of AMC and the Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA). AMY provides a yearly report on migration for over 20 countries in Asia. Country reports include statistics on migration, including inflow and outflow as well as annual stock, along with updates of the political and economic situation of the country, migration trends, and responses taken by various parties in regard to migrants’ issues and needs. In addition, the yearbook provides thematic reports on migration issues such as health, gender and trafficking, among others. There is also a section updating migration resources published in the past years, as well as a list of organizations working on migrants’ issues in Asia.

AMC and MFA, thorugh the MFA members in 20 Asian countries, collect, organize and manage a wide range of information related to migration in Asia. AMC maintains a library accessible to migrant workers in Hong Kong, and plans to computerize the library and other sources of information in order to provide access through the Internet. In addition, AMC periodically publishes monographs and reports based on its research, along with statements, conference reports, educational and training materials.

Migrant Domestic Workers (MDW) Programme

AMC pioneered the advocacy and unionisaiton work among migrant domestic workers (MDW) in Asia. In 1989, AMC helped form the first trade union of MDWs in Asia -- the Asian Domestic Workers Union (ADWU) in Hong Kong.

Asian Migrant Domestic Workers Alliance (ADWA)

International Campaign for Domestic Workers' Rights and Recognition

Migration & Development (MD) Programme

The M&D Program focuses on the development dimensions of migration. It helps AMC and our partner advocates analyze and crtique the development paradigms governing contemporary labor migration -- e.g. how labor export and neo-liberal policies shape labor migraiton. AMC also analyzes and identifies the enormous economic potential of migrant labor, and how this can impact or shape dvelopment especially in the countries of origin.

As a concrete strategy, AMC and partners in Asia have pioneered since 1995 the "migrant savings for alternative investments (MSAI) concept and strategy. MSAI, based on the critique of failed development paradigms fueling mass labor migration, proposes concrete strategies in empowering migrants to become development actor/ stakeholders, and transform their remittances and economic power into actual social power to be harnessed for just and people-centered development.

MSAI Strategy and Projects

The basic objectives of the MSAI strategy are: to help migrants prepare economically for their opportune return and reintegration back home, to develop the capacity of migrants and their families to build, mobilize and wisely use their savings, and to assist migrants and their families to make alternative investments in social enterprises in their home countries, not only as an additional source of livelihood but also to contribute to community and national development. By mobilizing their huge economic potential and creating viable, productive enterprises in their home countries, migrants and their communities are able to regain control of economic production and to generate social value-added products, services, jobs and income for local members of the community.

The MSAI strategy has several guiding principles. Investments should be economically viable and profitable; they should promote human rights, social justice, gender equality, and ecological sustainability; they should work to change the roles of migrants and women towards more equality; and they should contribute towards basic social change, just development and nation building. The M&D Program works to ensure migrants understand development issues.

The main components of the MSAI strategy are:
- Mobilization of migrant savings in the host countries, especially group savings;
- Building of social enterprises back in the home countries;
- Facilitation, guidance and capacity-building by NGO partners and advocates; and
- Intermediation and support by governmental, inter-governmental, private and development agencies on technical, infrastructure, logistical, legal/policy and related needs.

Since 1998, several MSAI pilot social enterprises have been established in migrants’ home countries in the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand; each enterprise is linked to migrant savings groups in the host countries of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Europe and North America. Similar pilot enterprises are also breaking ground in South Asia. The enterprises are mainly agriculture-based, producing organically grown livestock and crops.

Interventions at GFMD and Development Forums

The M&D Program also monitors and engages with internaitonal development-related processes, e.g. the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD). AMC and partners intervene in these development forums to ensure that migrants' perspectives and agendas are advanced, our critique of government development strategies are heard, and people-sentered development principles are mainstreamed.

M&D Programme facilitates migrants' interventions at all stages of migration. At the pre-departure stage, M&D conducts education and training on work-related skills and migrants’ rights, as well as on the risks and realities of migration in the various host countries. M&D also provides awareness raising activities regarding the issues migrants may face upon their return and reintegration. While onsite in the host countries, M&D engages in organizing MSAI savings groups, cooperatives and strategies; in the home ocuntries, it works wiht partners to develop community development projects and strategies. The return and reintegration stage is particularly emphasized in the MSAI strategy. Migrants focus on enterprise development and community organizing, and continue to form and strengthen networks with governments, organizations and communities. The M&D Program provides ongoing advocacy and training and education specifically for MSAI partners, especially in regard to economic and development issues and needs.

Mekong Migration (MM) Programme

The MM program began in September 2001 as the “Migration in the Mekong” project, a collaboration of AMC and more than 20 regional and national research partners covering the six countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). In the first phase of the project, the partners conducted joint research to map migration issues, needs and strategies in the region, and published the results in a resource book and annotated bibliography. In October 2003, the Mekong Migration Network (MMN) was established, perhaps the first broad, organic civil society-based action network on comprehensive migration issues in the GMS. This breakthrough has improved networking among migration advocates in the GMS, and the network will continue to reach out to other relevant NGOs and migrants’ advocates it the region.

Mekong Migration Network

Together with MMN, the MM program collectively monitors, analyzes and strategizes on migration issues and needs in the GMS. Monitoring includes assessing the migrants’ situation generally, including migrants’ issues, needs and responses, as well as migration-related national, regional and international standards, instruments, policies and laws in the GMS. The research is published in a yearly resource book, “Migration in the GMS: A Resource Book”, along with a bibliography describing resource materials on migration in the Mekong, entitled, “Migration in the GMS: An Annotated Bibliography”. The current publication in progress will include an in-depth study on the quality of life of migrants in the GMS.

AMC also provides assistance to MMN to strengthen the network in several ways. It seeks to help individual MMN partners in developing strategic action agendas and plans, and holds annual MMN workshops/strategy meetings to further develop joint analysis, plans, strategies, and responses to migration in the GMS. The MM program conducts country-level trainings and consultations on migrants’ rights and gender principles, strategizing on migration responses and agendas, monitoring, research and analysis techniques. Further, AMC works to link the MMN network with broader Asian regional migration networks such as the Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) in order to exchange information, share experiences and learn effective strategies from other groups in Asia.

In the future, the MM Program seeks to promote collaboration and additional joint initiatives between MMN, AMC, MFA and other NGOs, civil society groups, relevant governmental and international agencies focusing on migration in the GMS, based on the principle of protecting and promoting migrants’ rights & well-being.

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