Understanding the Limitations and Future of Transnational Migrant Labor and Global Health Governance in Asia

In collaboration with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) and the IAFOR Research Centre at OSIPP (IRC), the LeidenAsiaCentre is conducting a research that examines how global health governance and international labour migration in Asia have evolved during public health crises.

Contagious viral diseases have affected the Asian continent in the past. In recent decades, the SARS and MERS outbreaks stand out. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the region. In Asia, the highly interdependent economies have exposed the speed with which pandemics can spread. Intensive regional travel and business connections have caused every area in the region to be hit hard, highlighting the vulnerability of global health governance and international labour migration.

Every actor in the region has dealt with COVID-19 differently in the absence of clear and effective leadership, as the WHO’s role in Asia as a global health organization is coming under increasing pressure. While its credibility is slowly being eroded by public displays of incompetence and negligence, it has also become an arena of contestation between the US, the largest contributor to the organization, and China. The withdrawal of the US from the WHO threatens to undermine global health governance. Moreover, in a region that relies heavily on migrant workers, personal health security has become a transnational issue. Current policies were not designed with pandemics of this scale in mind, and their defects are showing.


This research attempts to address these issues by examining how global health governance and international labour migration in Asia have evolved during public health crises. Specifically, by looking at policy adjustments, legitimacy, and public perceptions, within the framework of Asia, this project attempts to explain the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The findings are compiled in an edited volume, published by Amsterdam University Press.


Anoma P. van der Veere, LeidenAsiaCentre (P.I.)
Florian Schneider, LeidenAsiaCentre (Editor)
Catherine Lo, Maastricht University (Editor)


Xue Gong (Nanyang Technological University)
Brendan Howe (Ewha Womans University GSIS, Asian Political and International Studies Association)
Zokhri Idris (Management and Science University)
Yumi Ishikawa (Osaka University, IAFOR Research Center)
Nurliana Kamaruddin (Universiti Malaya)
Eun Mee Kim (Ewha Womans University)
Kei Koga (Nanyang Technological University)
Miki Kohara (Osaka University)
Mirjam Ls (University of Passau)
Xirui Li (Nanyang Technological University)
Mei-Chun Liu (National Chengchi University)
Anh Tuyet Nguyen (Osaka University, IAFOR Research Center)
Franziska Nicolaisen (Freelance consultant for political foundations)
Haruko Satoh (Osaka University)
Saori Shibata (Leiden University Institute for Area Studies)
Jisun Song (Ewha Womans University)
Sylvia Yazid (Parahyangan Catholic University)

Want to share? Choose Your Platform!

Published On: February, 2021