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“Why should the portability of social security benefits for mobile workers be pursued within the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation region?”

This was the key question raised by the Institute of Labor Studies (ILS) OIC-Executive Director Mary Grace Riguer during the “Seminar on Facilitating Human Resource Mobility by Enhancing Social Protection” held at the Howard Civil Service International House in Taipei, Chinese Taipei on 31 August-1 September 2015.

The seminar was held to gather insights from government officials of various APEC economies, representatives and experts from labor study agencies to facilitate collaboration on identifying effective measures to address emerging issues on human resource mobility and social protection.

OIC-Executive Director Riguer presented a study conducted by ILS that examines portability of social security benefits for mobile workers in the APEC region.

“With an increasing reliance on inward migration for demographical growth, portability of social security benefits should be considered to enhance mobility experience, anchored in the principles of fairness and efficiency,” said Riguer.

Based on the study, all APEC member-economies have social security systems in place but the migrants’ claim to such social security entitlements is dictated by certain conditions such as citizenship, residence and employment. Riguer also gave an overview of the existing social security systems and labor flows within the region and identified other issues for the provision of social security benefits, such as the inclusion of domestic household workers and undocumented workers.

The seminar was attended by representatives from the following APEC economies: Australia, Chile, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Chinese Taipei and Thailand. It was a result of the bilateral meeting between the Philippines and Chinese Taipei under the Labor and Social Protection Network during the 37th APEC Human Resource Development Working Group (HRDWG) meeting held in Boracay, Philippines in May 2015.