Category Archives: Migration Policy in Thailand
PATHUM THANI — Five officials are suspected of issuing hundreds of fraudulent ID cards for migrant workers in Pathum Thani province, a high ranking official announced today.
An investigation was launched recently after officials discovered duplicate entries in their migrant worker database for the same people – only with different faces, according to Chalermpol Mangkang, permanent provincial secretary. So far they’ve determined that at least 300 of fake ID cards were issued to migrant workers.
“We expect to find many more,” Chalermpol said.
He added that four officials are now being investigated, while a specialist at the Lat Lum Kaew district office has been transferred to an inactive post. Chalermpol did not name any of the five officials or elaborate on how they might have been involved with the alleged fraud.
The ID cards, known formally as document TR 38/1, are issued by Thai authorities for migrant workers from neighboring countries such as Myanmar and Cambodia, permitting them to stay and work in the kingdom for a limited time.
The fraud appeared to come to light when Channel 3 aired a report about the issue Friday. In its report, Channel 3 said some Burmese workers had complained to its reporters that their names and other private information have been duplicated on the ID cards of other migrant workers.
The report also alleged that business owners who could not secure proper permits for their foreign employees would buy such fake ID cards from brokers in the province at the price of 25,000 baht per worker.
A thorough inspection of the entire migrant worker database will be conducted by the provincial administration to look for any other fraudulent cases, Chief District Officer Arwuth Vichienchai said.
“I expect that the inspection will take many days,” Arwuth said. “Once the inspection is done, we will press charges against officials who are involved.”
Thailand is home to approximately 1.5 registered million migrant workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, according to statistics provided by Office of Foreign Workers Administration.
By Teeranai Charuvastra
Published on 5 October 2015
A civil society group has pointed out that the Thai authorities’ policy to provide financial support for the education of only children of Thai nationals is a violation of children’s rights.
On Monday, 28 September 2015, the Migrant Working Group (MWG), a civil society organisation for migrant workers in Thailand, organised a seminar on loopholes in the Thai educational system which exclude children without Thai nationality, who are mostly children of migrant workers from neighbouring countries, some of whom are stateless.
The seminar was organised to discuss in particular the latest policy of the Ministry of Education, which was announced in late August 2015, to give per capita financial support to children who are studying in private schools. However, children without Thai citizenship will not be included in the scheme.
Prior to the enactment of the new policy, the Thai government provided minimal support for stateless and migrant workers’ children by allocating primary education funds to public and private schools on a per capita basis. However, the new primary education support policy has cancelled such funding.
During the discussion at Student Christian Centre (SCC) in central Bangkok, Father Rangsiphon Plienphan, Secretary of the Catholic Social Commission of Nakhon Sawan Province, who has been active in providing education for underprivileged and non-Thai children, said that the Thai education system is still inaccessible to children of migrant workers and stateless children.
He added that although Thailand ratified the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1992, the country has failed to provide a ‘good education’ for stateless and other underprivileged non-Thai children living in the country.
According to MWG, with this policy, many private charity schools which have been providing education for underprivileged children without Thai citizenship will be short of support from the Thai state and many such children will no longer be able to study.
Surapong Kongchantuk, Chairman of the Lawyers Council of Thailand’s Human Rights Subcommittee on Ethnic Minorities, pointed out that the new policy of the Education Ministry to withdraw financial support for children without national identification cards is in fact against the consensus of the 2005 cabinet.
He mentioned that the Thai authorities must revoke the current policy and restore the previous one of continuing support for non-Thai children to go to school.
Moreover, the Chairman of the Lawyers Council said that unlike the previous policy, where only specific age groups of migrant and stateless children were supported through primary school funding, funds should be given to all age groups, because many such children tend start primary school much later than the normal age in the country.
The MWG recently submitted a letter to Gen Dapong Ratanasuwan, the Education Minister, and to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry against the implementation of the policy to withdraw primary school funding for non-Thai children, but there has not yet been any response from the authorities.
According to Ramajitti Institute, a Thai non-profit organization which conducts research on children, youth and education, Thailand is home to about 250,000-300,000 undocumented migrant and stateless children, many of whom are excluded from formal primary schooling.
Published on 30 September 2015
Thailand will prohibit family members from joining migrant workers coming to Thailand from neighbouring countries beginning in 2017, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said Friday.
Speaking at a seminar on improving cooperation between Mekong River countries on migrant labour, the prime minister provided few details behind the decision, but hinted that health insurance and education costs for non-working spouses and children of foreign workers was creating a burden on government coffers.
Gen Prayut said Mekong River countries are seeing their economies develop quickly and, thus, would need to retain more workers. Some migrants working abroad now, including in Thailand, also may begin to return home.
He said worker migration is an issue that involves both the government and private sectors, especially recruitment companies that must raise their standards to prevent human trafficking.
Thailand, he said, has pushed for origin countries to verify the nationalities of the workers being sent abroad to facilitate labour movement, with home countries supplying all the needed documentation for those coming to Thailand.
He said, however, leaders of several countries have asked for more time to implement verification. Thailand agreed to the extension, as it ultimately bears the burden of providing health coverage and education. That was one reason behind the decision to bar dependents from joining migrant workers in 2017, he said.
Thailand has accepted a large number of migrant workers and does not want to take advantage of its neighbours, but the government has to consider its own security as labour movement occurs both legally and illegally, said Gen Prayut.
The premier emphasised the need to improve skills among regional workers, so a training centre was established in Tak province as part the new special economic zone project.
By Patsara Jikkham
Published on 4 September 2015
Both parties also discussed labor cooperation. PM Prayut insisted that the Royal Thai Government had no policy to use violence against illegal migrant labors. The Government had earlier given opportunities for employers to register illegal labors. From now on, there will be random checks, and employers or agents who hire illegal migrant workers will be prosecuted. The Prime Minister called for Cambodia to rush in verifying nationality and issuing passport for Cambodian migrant workers. On the other hand, Thailand stands ready to provide support, especially in skill development for Cambodian workers along the border area. The Cambodian Deputy PM and Minister of Foreign Affairs thanked the Thai Government for its assistance provided to Cambodian migrant workers and commended an establishment of the One Stop Services to tackle the problem of illegal migrant workers. Both Thailand and Cambodia also came to terms on the need to produce more vocational graduates since labor skill development will greatly benefit the two countries once ASEAN Community is realized.
On expansion of trade and investment, PM Prayut viewed that Thailand and Cambodia should promote connectivity both on land and sea, and expressed Thailand’s readiness to cooperate with Cambodia in an opening of Stung Bot border crossing point to alleviate congestion at Aranyaprathet- Poipet crossing point. H.E. Hor Namhong agreed that Stung Bot border crossing point is more suitable for logistics purpose, while one at Aranyaprathet- Poipet is better known among tourists. Both parties also endorsed the development of special economic zone at an area in Ban Nong Ean- Stung Bot. Concerned agencies will discuss further in detail on the matter.
By: The Royal Thai Government
Published on: 10 July 2015
A last-minute rush of largely Cambodian, Burmese and Laotian undocumented workers is expected to descend today on Thailand’s one-stop service centres for visas and work permits (OCCS), as Thai authorities yesterday signalled a crackdown on illegal labour.
More than 100,000 Cambodian workers in Thailand could face arrest and deportation after the deadline for reapplying for a work permit extension came and went yesterday.
“There are a significant number of workers at risk of arrest and deportation, or as usual, arrest, extortion and release … [among] the most prominent features of Thai migration policy for decades now,” said Thailand-based migrant expert and workers’ rights advocate Andy Hall.
The Thai government had previously pushed back a March 31 deadline, giving undocumented workers until yesterday to extend their work permits for a year, in which time they were expected to be issued passports by their respective governments.
Hall added it was simply “not possible” to re-register the huge number of workers in time, raising the possibility of a repeat of last year’s mass exodus, when some 225,000 Cambodian workers fled back across the border after the Thai junta cracked down on illegal migrants.
According to figures from Thailand’s Office of Foreign Workers Administration, 738,947 Cambodian migrants, 696,338 workers and 42,609 dependents registered at OCCSs last year.
Of these, 173,467 had the correct documents. As of June 22, a further 391,628 had reapplied for a work permit.
This leaves more than 130,000 at risk of deportation.
Quoted by Thai state media yesterday, Thailand’s Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour Sumet Mahosot warned that the Department of Employment would start monitoring workplaces and penalising employers and employees who missed the deadline.
Mahosot said 990,716 migrants had renewed their permits as of Monday, and he expected that number to surpass one million today.
He did not, however, break down the numbers according to nationality, or indicate how many previously registered migrants were yet to reapply.
Omsin Boonlert, a Chiang Mai-based research officer for the Mekong Migration Network, said many illegal migrants were hoping that the authorities will offer a reprieve and extend the deadline again.
Boonlert said the work permit process, largely dependent on employers, was made difficult as many companies lacked “cancellation” documents from their employees former workplaces.
Prices for the renewals were also much higher than the stated rates, with brokers and officials known to add extra fees, she said.
Spokesmen for Cambodia’s Foreign and Labour Ministries could not be reached.
Banteay Meanchey Governor Korsum Saroeut reported no additional activity at the border as of yesterday.
“Now we are waiting for a decision,” said Saroeut, who sits on a recently established committee created to help Cambodian workers if deportations begin. “In 2014, we did not know anything and then Thailand sent the workers back.”
By Shaun Turton
Published on 1 July 2015