Category Archives: Migration Policy in Thailand

Desperate migrant pays for baby to be drugged, smuggled to Myanmar – researchers, Reuters

BANGKOK, May 27 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A Burmese woman working in Thailand hired a man to sedate and smuggle her 3-month-old baby across the border to relatives in Myanmar, researchers said, describing a common “service” for desperate migrant mothers fearful of losing their jobs.Researchers whose study was published on Wednesday surveyed 114 women migrants in the six countries along the Mekong River about their health, and found that many went to extremes to end pregnancies or send babies home because of problems at work.”A lot of people noted they will get fired when they get pregnant when they are abroad… they will get fired and go home,” said Rebecca Napier-Moore, who wrote the report for the Mekong Migration Network, an advocacy umbrella group of organisations.

The woman who hired the smuggler – a migrant in her 20s who used to work at a fish canning factory near the Thailand-Malaysia border – told researchers her employer did not allow babies in the workplace and she could not afford a babysitter.

“So I sent my baby with a broker to my parents in Mon state, Myanmar,” the woman was quoted as saying in the report. “You need to pay a broker 5,000 baht ($150) for one baby” who they sedate with drugs for the duration of the journey.

Brahm Press, director of the MAP Foundation rights group based in the northern Thai city Chiang Mai, who led the research in Thailand, said her account indicated the service was a known way for Burmese women in Thailand to send their babies home.

“It’s not uncommon. This is a service they (smugglers) provide,” Press told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by telephone.

Millions of migrants cross borders to find work in the Greater Mekong subregion, made up of Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Yunnan and Guangxi provinces in China.

Thailand, the main destination country, hosts an estimated 3 million documented and undocumented migrant workers, 80 percent of whom are from Myanmar.

Migrants are often unable or unwilling to access health care in host countries because of discrimination, high costs, language barriers, or fear of arrest and deportation.

The study said that of the women interviewed – who worked in sectors including construction, agriculture, domestic work, sex work, retail and manufacturing – 41 percent lacked migration documents.


The most shocking accounts in the report involved pregnant women, very few of whom receive antenatal care. The study found that 57 percent of women worked at places with no maternity leave.

A former sex worker from Myanmar told researchers that a Thai employer sent her friend to Myanmar for an unsafe abortion with an untrained midwife.

“She put red medicine into my friend’s vagina, and massaged her pregnant belly hard. Blood came out after half an hour and then the foetus,” the unnamed woman was quoted as saying.

The cost of the abortion depends how far along the pregnancy is, the woman said. “For aborting after one month of pregnancy, we need to pay 10,000 kyat ($10). Some women die during these abortions.”

The report said that the women surveyed – 62 percent of whom had no health insurance – usually treat themselves and continue to work while ill.

Many use home remedies and seek care from traditional healers or pharmacies, where they can get drugs “faster, cheaper and without the discrimination they might find in hospitals”.

Because of language barriers or miscommunication, migrants may get the wrong medication, or they may receive no advice about how to take the medication, the report said.

“Counterfeit or poor quality drugs, overuse of antibiotics and poisoning are risks of self-treatment in a region that does not strictly regulate pharmacies or require prescriptions for most drugs”, the report said.

By Alisa Tang
Published on 27 May 2015

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Provinces Authorized to Manage Foreign Workers in Special Economic Zones

The Ministry of Labour consulted the management of foreign workers in Special Economic Zones along the Southern border to support the fruit picking season, authorizing provinces to lead operations. 

Labour Minister General Surasak Karnjanarat presided over the consultation on the management of foreign workers in Special Economic Zones along the Southern border, which took place at the Tien Achkul room. After the meeting, the Labour Minister said that the meeting considered the entering of foreign workers from neighbouring countries for work in the agricultural sector and other industries within the Special Economic Zones and areas along the Southern borderline in the form of daily enter and exit, or seasonally which must be monitored carefully. The meeting agreed to authorize provincial governors and local units to run operations including the army and police for instance. The provincial governors will take on the duty as leaders in considering the inflow and outflow of foreign workers for the fruit picking season in each province, ensuring compliance to all regulations.

“As Thailand has agricultural provinces, we have a labour shortage during the fruit picking seasons in provinces such as Chanthaburi, Trat, Rayong and many other provinces including Special Economic Zones. At present, there are 10 provinces with these zones with each province having different working situations, and some areas providing daily entry and exit for foreign workers upon season. Therefore we looked at how we could make things more suitable to each situation in each area, simplifying things and reducing illegality and ensuring everything is monitored,” said the Labour Minister.

The Labour Minister further stated that the Ministry of Labour has collected information with the Ministry of Interior, especially for areas along the Southern borderline and Special Economic Zones, as the Ministry of Interior has extensive networks. The framework for operations is expected to be the same for each province, but some details may differ such as what to report, how to do things, when the inflow of workers are high because the fruit picking season is different in different areas. This will allow business owners to plan carefully and prevent any wrongdoing.

The fruit picking season in agricultural provinces spans 4 months during April, May, June and July of each year.

The information on the registration of Myanmar, Laotian and Cambodian workers in accordance to the Cabinet’s resolution on the 3rd March 2015 (information as of the 28th April 2015) had a total of 135,549 Myanmar citizens had registered for new cards and work permits whereby 132,137 were workers and 3,412 were followers. There was a total of 37,483 registered Laotians with 36,491 workers and 992 followers as well as 102,142 registered Cambodians consisting of 99,296 workers and 2,846 followers. Furthermore, there was a total of 59,483 employers. Provinces with the highest number of registered foreign workers were Bangkok with 63,175 workers, Samut Sakhon with 25,408 workers and Samut Prakarn with 15,572 workers.

By: Wichulada Buachai, Bureau of Public Relations, Ministry of Labour

Published on: 30 April 2015

Migrant workers to receive better welfare in Thailand

The Ministry of Labor is expected to provide better care for migrant workers in Thailand by enforcing stricter laws against dodgy employers and job agencies.

Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Labor, Nakhon Silapa-archa said at a meeting arranged in collaboration with the Ministry of Labor and the International Labor Organization (ILO), that the Thai government has placed great emphasis on the welfare of migrant workers.

It has also thanked the ILO for cooperating with Thailand in addressing a child labor issue and supporting the establishment of a migrant worker union.

There are more than 4 million workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia entering Thailand each year. Mr. Nakhon added that the agencies must work together to ensure better protection for these migrant workers.

The Department of Employment has been told to take firm legal action against employers and job agencies taking advantage of these foreign workers.

By: National News Bureau of Thailand
Published on: 7 April 2015

Migrants from four countries eligible for health benefits

Workers from Myanmar, laos, Cambodia and Vietnam now get better coverage

MIGRANT workers from Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam can now buy healthcare insurance and enjoy healthcare benefits that are on par with what Thais get via the country’s universal healthcare scheme.

“The insurance covers chronic diseases, surgeries, and even high-cost anti-retroviral drugs,” Public Health Ministry deputy permanent secretary Amnuay Gajeena said yesterday.

He said insurance fees were Bt2,100 for one-year coverage, Bt1,400 for six-month coverage, and Bt1,000 for three-month coverage.

The fees have already included the first health checks for migrant workers – a measure that the relevant authorities have used to monitor and control diseases in the country.

“For children aged under seven years old, the fee is just Bt365 for one-year coverage,” Amnuay added.

Only Myanmar, Laotian, Cambodian and Vietnamese workers and their dependants are eligible to buy such healthcare insurance. The purchases can be made at any state hospital or participating private hospital. Even those who work in Thailand during the day and return home at night can buy it, he said.

The healthcare insurance was revealed in an announcement made by the Public Health Ministry.Public Health Minister Rajata Rajatanavin said his ministry issued two new announcements at the end of last month to improve foreign workers’ access to healthcare services.”These announcements have taken effect since April 1,” he said.

Amnuay said foreigners who were not Myanmar, Vietnamese, Laotian or Cambodian could buy another type of insurance.This type of insurance covers free medical treatments including vaccination. The fees are Bt2,700 for one-year coverage (including a health-check fee of Bt500) for adults and Bt363 for children aged under seven years old.”If you are outside the social security system, you can buy such insurance,” Amnuay said.At present, Thailand is host to millions of migrant workers.

By: The Nation

Published on: 6 April 2015

One-stop service opens nationwide for migrant workers today

BANGKOK, 1 April 2015 (NNT)-The Ministry of Interior is opening migrant worker registration offices across the country today. The move is said to help keep human trafficking and illegal entry at bay.

According to the Permanent Sectary to the Ministry of Interior, Wiboon Sanaungpong, the cabinet has endorsed the proposal to set up a migrant worker system and set up one- stop service offices nationwide.

Presently, there are 81 one-stop service offices altogether in Bangkok, Chonburi, Samutsakhon, Samutprakarn and Rayong, just to name a few.

Mr. Wiboon added that the registration will prevent migrant workers of Laotian, Cambodian and Burmese nationals previously granted another extension to their stay from becoming human trafficking victims.

It will assure that the migrant workers are paid based on the number of hours they work. The Ministry of Interior is also planning to collaborate with other agencies to fulfill the government’s wish to eradicate the country’s chronic human trafficking problems.

By: National News Bureau of Thailand

Published on: 1 April 2015

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