Consequences of Migration on Thai Households
Working abroad is a popular choice among Thai craftsmen and workers because of the remittances they can send back to their family and the opportunities they get to work with advanced technology, which increases their social status and experience. Most migrants send remittances back home on a monthly basis, but some send them quarterly or only once a year, although this is more rare. The amount of remittances sent depends on various factors such as frequency and occupation.
While migration helps to increase the income of the household, it has some consequences on the family left behind. It was found that when men migrate, they leave their wives and children behind mainly with other family members, for example with grandparents. In the case of female migrants, either the husband takes care of the children himself in his wive’s absence or he moves back to his native place for the children to be looked after by extended family members.
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Impact of migration on family members left behind
Migration — which implies working away from home, whether in the same country or abroad — has two sides to consider: one is the improved quality of life, as increasing income allows access to a variety of goods and services. In particular, the quality of education that children from migrant families are able to receive is higher. But the other side is the difficult family conditions when parents are separated from their children,Thai Workers Working Abroad.Retrieved 12 June 2013 from http://www.tcijthai.com/tcijthai/view.php?ids=2663%20 which can have adverse effects the health and growth of children.
So the correct and important way is the pursuit of knowledge, especially how to act appropriately with others burden to the parents. This approach leads to immunity to these children grow into people who haven’t problems in the future.
There were some positive impacts on the family members of male migrants. Economic solvency brought about an increased status of the family members. In addition, the educational status increased for both boys and girls. Family members, especially the elderly and children, were provided with better medical treatment. At the same time, family members were well provided for, especially in terms of clothing and food.
There were changes in the behaviour of some family members such an increased awareness and lifestyle changes, as they gain new information about the destination countries.
There were several problems faced by family members who were left behind by male migrants.
- Social and family issues
Loneliness was the most identified negative impact by both men and women while children also missed their fathers. There were very few incidents of divorce by male and female members. Absence of proper childcare of girls was also identified as a major issue.
With regards to male children, the migration of the male head affected their schooling. It is also stated that those who have a duty to look after children when their parents migrate (e.g. grandparents) have experienced mental health effects. For some families there were family feuds, which created problems for both male and female members.
- Financial stability
Another commonly identified problem was financial stability, as most of the female migrants took loans at high interest rates to cover expenses that would be incurred in the migration process. Family members had to repay the loans, and this created pressure back home.
However, children faced fewer problems than others. Some of them had to repay the loan that was taken by the men while going abroad, and it created pressure back home. At the same time, many of them said that they got the money quite late from abroad. Several women faced problems relating to social security and some children faced social stigmatisation. Dr.Ranjana Kumari and Prof.Ishrat Shamim. Gender dimensions of International Migration from Bangladesh and India : Socio Economic Impact on Families Left Behind.Retrieved 10 July 2013 from http://saneinetwork.net/Files/10_07___Ranjana_Kumari.pdf
Finally, lack of communication between female/male migrants abroad with their family members at home was mentioned as an issue. But generally, for any family with children whose parents were working abroad, the study found that the surrounding communities do not worry, because such families would regardless be better off receiving reasonably good economic returns.
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