Category Archives: Migration Policy in Thailand
BANGKOK, 13 November 2014 (NNT) – The Ministry of Labour (MOL) has revealed that Thailand and Laos discussed mutual cooperation on the identification process of laborers’ nationality and employment, while seeking to update the MOU every five years.
According to the Minister of Labour Gen. Surasak Kanchanarat, the Minister and Laos Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Thailand have discussed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the employment and nationality identification today.
He said that both sides agreed to update the content of the MOU once every five years, to keep the MOU up to date. Officials from both countries will be working together to update this MOU with the deadline in October 2015, in time with the opening of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
The Laos Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ly Bounkham said that Lao People’s Democratic Republic will be sending their officers to work with Thai officers to help identify the nationality of Laos workers in Thailand as soon as possible.
The nationality identification team will start from provinces with a larger population of Laos workers, then move towards provinces with less Laos workers. However, the Laos Ambassador is concerned that the entire process might be completed by 31 March 2015.
Minister of Labour has stressed that the Ministry is willing to provide assistance. There will be further discussions should the identification process is not completed within the time frame.
Currently, there are 212,562 registered Laos workers with 9,122 in Thailand as aides or followers. The cost for the nationality identification is 3,000 baht per person for both Thai and Laos authorities.
By: National News Bureau of Thailand
The government must do more to tackle abuses against migrant workers, academics say.
The situation has improved slightly since June, following moves by the National Council for Peace and Order to regulate migrant workers, said Narong Petprasert, an economist at Chulalongkorn University.
“Overall, there are fewer reports of illegal labour brokers and other forms of harmful interference, which makes for less labour extortion,” he said.
“But there is little hope the Labour Ministry will undertake any further steps in favour of migrant workers rights.”
He said all the widely known cases of abuse were made public by watchdogs and NGOs, not the ministry.
The fishing and sugar cane industries, in particular, were placed on several watch-lists for human trafficking and human rights violations and are subject to more attention than other sectors, he said.
“For the situation to improve, we should give migrant workers the opportunity to protect and defend their own rights, but I don’t see this happening any time soon in Thailand.”
“I don’t think Thai society is ready to allow it yet,” Mr Narong explained.
Lae Dilokwitthayarat, a labour expert at Chulalongkorn University, said the government is on the right track, but the labour, foreign and industry ministries should tackle the problems jointly.
“We have just started to realise how much the migrant workforce brings to the Thai economy,” Mr Lae said.
The government’s focus will be on boosting registration and developing more one-stop service centres to regulate migrant workers. He said negative feedback from abroad has sped up government support for migrant workers, particularly its crackdown on brokers who bring workers here through exorbitant fees or under false pretenses.
Registration would help migrant workers, he said. If brokers bribe state officials for work permits, the money they pay comes out of the workers’ wages. “If registration procedures become more accessible, there will be no need to bribe and the worker will get his full pay,” he said.
“The government must not simply list measures undertaken, but focus on presenting results instead,” Mr Lae said. He praised the government’s response to the US State Department’s downgrading of Thailand in its June Trafficking in Persons Report.
By Ariane Kupferman-Sutthavong
Published on 10 November 2014
More than 200 boat people held in southern Thailand will be pushed back out to sea, police said on Monday, despite calls by rights group to stop a policy that puts would-be asylum seekers at risk.
Around 259 people were found at sea on Saturday and were arrested for illegal entry.
Their discovery around 3 km (1.86 miles) from the coast follows what one NGO said was a “major maritime exodus” from neighboring Myanmar of Rohingya, a mostly stateless Muslim minority group from the country’s west.
“On average around 900 people left by boat from the middle of last month. We saw a major maritime exodus of nearly 10,000 people,” said Chris Lewa of the Arakan Project, a Rohingya advocacy group, adding that increasing desperation was one reason for the departures.
Authorities in Thailand’s Kapoe district said it was unclear whether any of the group were Rohingya but interviews with some of the group showed they were heading for Malaysia to find work or, in the women’s’ cases, join their husbands.
The 259 will be put back on boats and sent back to Myanmar, said Police Colonel Sanya Prakobphol, head of Kapoe district police.
“They are Muslims from Myanmar … They are illegal migrants,” Sanya told Reuters by telephone.
“If they come in then we must push them back … once they have crossed the sea border into Myanmar then that’s considered pushing them back. What they do next is their problem.”
Tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state since 2012, when violent clashes with ethnic Rakhine Buddhists killed hundreds and made about 140,000 homeless.
Many were Rohingya, who now often live in apartheid-like conditions and have little or no access to jobs, schools or healthcare.
The boats often sail from Myanmar and Bangladesh to Thailand where, as Reuters reported last year, human trafficking-gangs hold thousands of boat people in brutal jungle camps until relatives pay ransoms to secure their release.
Testimonies from Bangladeshi and Rohingya survivors in an October Reuters Special Report provided evidence of a dramatic shift in human-trafficking tactics.
Sanya said the 259 people were currently being held at a community hall and that his team were “looking after them like relatives” but that they would soon be put back on boats.
“Who will feed them? I’m struggling day to day to feed them,” said Sanya.
“No country wants an outsider to come in to their house.”
Thailand was downgraded in June to the lowest category in the U.S. State Department’s annual ranking of the world’s worst human-trafficking centers, putting it in the same category as North Korea and the Central African Republic.
The same month, the Thai military vowed to “prevent and suppress human trafficking”, after having seized power from an elected government on May 22.
By: Amy Sawitta Lefevre, Reuters
Published on: 10 November 2014