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Myanmar migrant workers to receive two-year work visas in Thailand, Eleven Myanmar

New migrant workers will receive two-year work visas when they are sent to Thailand under the memorandum of understanding system, an official from the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security said.

“We have reached an agreement to issue new red passports for new migrant workers who will work [in Thailand] under the MOU system,” Myo Aung, director-general of the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, told the media during a bilateral meeting on migrant workers, held at the Kandawgyi Palace Hotel in Yangon on Saturday.

“In the past, [the migrant workers] only received one-year [work] visas to work in Thailand. With the new passport, they will not only receive a two-year visa but also only be required to pay 500 bahts,” said Myo Aung.

Both governments have also discussed opening one-stop service centres for Myanmar migrant workers, issuing documents for Myanmar citizens working in the Thai fishing industry, sending new migrant workers only through official agencies recognised by both countries, and issuing temporary passports to migrant workers.

The Ministry has opened offices to issue temporary passports for migrant workers in the border towns of Myawady, Tachileik, and Kawthaung. It sent more than 77,000 migrant workers to Thailand through 66 official agencies from June 2010 through September 2013.

The Ministry has also issued documents for more than 1.6 million Myanmar migrant workers in Thailand.

By Eleven Myanmar

Published on 15 October 2013

Workers ‘cheated’, The Nation

About 200 Myanmar workers believed to have been cheated by Malaysian labour brokers were abandoned near Tarutao Island off the southern province of Satun, police said yesterday.

Pol Lieutenant Chaipol Yaiying said the 200 Myanmar people, including some heavily pregnant women, were found at Pornchai Gulf, which is often used by fishing boats to wait out storms.

The migrant workers told police they did not know where they were, were not from the same group and had not come together. Some, who had arrived via Penang and Langkawi in Malaysia were supposed to have been taken by their agents to Australia, while others who could speak Malay were meant to be destined for Malaysia. The former group said they were charged Bt60,000 for the agents’ commission and to cover travel costs.

Police suspected the Burmese workers were duped by the same agent or network and deserted at the same place. Satun immigration officials and police would take their records before sending them home.

By The Nation

Published on 8 July 2013

Labour ministry seeking cabinet approval to legalise 300,000 illegal migrant workers

Thailand’s Ministry of Labour plans to seek cabinet approval to endorse some 300,000 illegal migrants who failed to go through nationality verification process.

Permanent-Secretary for Labour Somkiat Chayasriwong said the deadline of the nationality verification process set by the Thai government has passed but there are still about 300,000 illegal migrants workers who have not been through the process.

The government earlier extended the nationality verification procedure which ended in June to December 14 to verify the nationality of migrant workers from Myanmar, Cambodia and Lao before registering them to work in Thailand.

Nationality verification is significant in solving the problem of illegal foreign labour employment.

Mr Somkiat said the labour ministry is now drafting a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the three neighbouring countries to issue temporary passports for the migrant workers whose nationalities have not yet been verified so that they will have legal status in the kingdom.

As of now, the Lao PDR and Cambodia agreed with the idea, said Mr Somkiat, adding the ministry is discussing with the Myanmar authorities on Friday on the matter.

Mr Somkiat said the issue will be proposed for Thai cabinet approval early next year. The employers will be required to send the names of employees whose nationality has not yet been verified to the ministry within a  one month timeframe.

He said all the process will be complete within three months from sending the name list. The illegal migrant workers are obliged to collect their temporary passports at the locations determined by their country of origin, such as Lao migrant workers, who will have to cross a border to get their passports, while the Cambodians can collect their passports at the embassy in Bangkok.

By MCOT online news

Published on 20 December 2012

Myanmar Government Press release: The 12th Myanmar-Thai workers affairs meeting, 23 November 2012

Press Release (3/2012)

10th waxing of Tazaungmon 1374

(23 November 2012)

1.   The  Republic of the Union of Myanmar and Thailand have been jointly holding meetings for Myanmar migrant workers. The 12th
Myanmar-Thai workers affairs meeting will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, on 26 November 2012.

2.   Myanmar delegation led by U Myint Thein, Deputy Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security will attend the meeting.

3.   The meeting will focus on the ongoing work in implementing the agreements reached between Myanmar President and Thai Prime Minister during the President’s goodwill visit to Thailand, and the minutes of the previous meetings.

4.   The  Thai side has proposed to concentrate on two topics – the expiry of the process of issuing temporary visas for Myanmar workers on 14 December, and nationality verification.  However, other issues such as the topics raised by the President during the visit and issuance of legal documents for children and dependents of the workers, protection of Myanmar workers, comprehensive MoU in sending new Myanmar workers, and sending back Myanmar workers with no legal documents.

5.   Moreover general matters includes quicker money transfers by the banks,educational opportunities for children of migrant workers, issuance of documents for seasonal migrant workers, protection of Myanmar workers facing unfair labour and pressures on board trawlers, lessening the punishments on and the amnesty for Myanmar workers serving prison terms in Thailand, and the review of the MoU signed in 2003 and its amendment at an appropriate time.

6.   Thailand is expressing its intention through the media that it will not continue to host illegal  workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia after 14 December 2012.

7.   According to the estimation of international  organizations, there are over two million Myanmar workers in Thailand. It also says that temporary visas have not been issued for about 300,000 registered workers yet, and about one million workers still remained to be registered.

8.   However, the international community  at present is praising the efforts of the two governments to issue proper documents for Myanmar workers as per the international practices.

9.   If the process is halted it will have adverse impact on the interest of bothcountries  and workers’ rights. Moreover, Thai entrepreneurs will face criticism of international organizations and NGOs dealing with the affairs of illegal migrant workers in Thailand. So, Myanmar will insist on extending the term in connection with the said matter.

PM urges migrant protection

Some 285 million workers will migrate for employment when ASEAN countries open their borders to each other in 2015, Prime Minister Hun Sen predicted yesterday, as he urged speedier regional legislative action to ensure they could travel safely.

At an ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council meeting, the premier warned that some countries’ legislative barriers could prevent ASEAN from producing the necessary legal frameworks by the 2015 deadline.

“The acceleration for an actual agreement for a management of protection and promotion rights of the migrant workers is needed to be signed before 2015,” said Hun Sen.

The premier did not specifically point the finger at any one country, though Cambodia itself is now in protracted negotiations with Malaysia to establish a Memorandum of Understanding to protect workers heading there for jobs.

Oum Mean, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Labour, suggested that that deal was not far from fruition.

“We are working with Malaysia on legislative mechanism management before moving toward signing an MOU,” he said.

Hun Sen banned Cambodian recruitment firms from sending domestic workers to Malaysia last October following a raft of abuses there including deaths, alleged rapes and beatings.

The only country with whom Cambodia has signed an MOU to curtail such exploitation is Thailand, where approximately 36,500 workers had migrated since 2006, Mean said.

He added that 11,290 Cambodians had legally migrated to Malaysia since 2000 to work as maids and that non-ASEAN destination countries included South Korea and Japan.

Moeun Tola, head of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Centre, said he estimated that some 300,000 of Cambodia’s 14 million citizens were now working abroad.

“They should have the right to join the trade union, and they should have the right to collective bargaining,” he said.

ASEAN countries that did not have such protections need to adopt the legal standards stipulated in International Labour Organization conventions on freedom of association, collective bargaining and the prevention of child labour, he added.

On a separate topic, Hun Sen also said yesterday that the Asian Development Bank had provided ASEAN with $500 million for regional infrastructure to improve connectivity, with additional support for the project from China, Japan and South Korea.

By Vong Sokheng, Phnom Penh Post
Friday, 26 October 2012

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