Regional economic integration is often measured by trade agreements at the inter-state level, but labour migrants may be the ultimate harbingers of closer integration as they inevitably add people-to-people ties to otherwise abstract economic relations.

Southeast Asia has long been seen as an origin of labour migration to OECD and Gulf countries, but there is increasing mobility within the region as well.

As Southeast Asian labour migrants make their homes elsewhere in Asia, they are challenging preconceived notions of ethnic homogeneity, particularly in Northeast Asia.

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