Article 16.3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “[t]he family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.” This task has become a lot more challenging in the age of migration, particularly under a migration regime wherein only workers are allowed admission to another country under specific terms while their family members are left in the countries of origin. To date, the protection and promotion of the welfare of left-behind families is assumed to be the sole responsibility of countries of origin. Based on the experience of the Philippines as an origin country, this paper outlines the impact of international migration on the families of migrants; describes institutions, programs and services developed by the government and other stakeholders to promote their protection and welfare; and concludes with recommendations for transnational cooperation to ensure that the families of migrant workers are not left behind as participants in policy, research and advocacy.


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