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Asian countries in 2030 will be divided between the worker-rich and the worker-poor

The highly restrictive “Asian model” of migration makes it “hard to fill jobs in many countries where they are needed, despite a surplus of labor elsewhere,” reports the Economist. Today, Asia is home to half the world′s population but just 17 percent of its immigrants.

That will make it harder to meet labor needs as populations age. East Asian countries will likely need to import 275 million people between the ages of 15 and 64 by 2030 to maintain their shares of working-age populations. Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and especially Thailand are projected to need workers, while Myanmar, Indonesia and the Philippines will all likely have too many workers.

South Asia could “export” as many as 134 million laborers (80 million from India alone) without worsening its ratio of dependents to workers. Bangladesh is forecast to have an estimated labor force surplus of 18 percent. China, on the other hand, will be worker poor. Its labor shortfall in 2030 is projected to be about 24 percent of its current working-age population.

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