Category Archives: Migration Policy in Thailand

Employment centers opened in Tak, Sa Kaeo, Nong Khai serving immigrants

The Department of Employment (DOE) has opened employment centers in Tak, Sa Kaeo, and Nong Khai provinces to serve migrant workers in the area, in an effort to prevent and tackle human trafficking issues, according to DOE Director-General Arrug Phrommanee.

The DOE chief said the department has opened three employment centers in Tak, Sa Kaeo and Nong Khai, in keeping with the Cabinet’s resolution to provide employment services and hire migrant workers. The centers will also seek to address the workers on important information regarding employment in Thailand.

The centers provide training courses and orientation for immigrant workers looking for knowledge about their employment contract and their benefits when returning to their home country. The centers help employees and employers to ensure that the actual work is relevant to their employment contract. These efforts and services will help prevent and solve ongoing human trafficking issues and protect the foreign workers.

Thai employers can only employ migrant workers in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding that was agreed on. 284,405 workers have submitted their request to work in Thailand during October 2015-July 2016. 150,454 of these workers have been allowed to work legally in the kingdom.

By: National News Bureau of Thailand

Published on: 16 August 2016

Thailand to offer training to Cambodian workers

Thailand plans to develop five training centres on its border with Cambodia in an attempt to smooth the integration process for migrant workers, officials told a Cambodian delegation last week.

From August 8 to 12, members of the delegation met with the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs and Labour, and with the Thai National Assembly, to discuss ways to improve the migration process for Cambodian workers in Thailand.

“We don’t know exactly when or where the centres will be established, but we welcome Thailand’s effort to ensure the safety and health of our workers,” said Chheang Vun, a CPP lawmaker, who led the delegation.

In September, Thailand will resume its efforts to provide legal documents for Cambodian migrant workers after it temporarily halted the process in March, Vun added.

According to Vun, there are currently estimated to be around 700,000 Cambodian workers in Thailand, most of whom are working illegally. An International Labour Organization survey last Monday suggested workers were opting not to apply for passport or work permits due to high costs and long waits.

Top Neth, spokesman of the Interior Ministry’s identification department, said migrant workers could apply for free travel documents that are valid for up to five years. Still, workers must provide a variety of supporting documents and travel to Phnom Penh to obtain the permits, Neth said.

By: Sen David and Cristina Maza, The Phnom Penh Post

Published on: 16 August 2016

Over one million foreign migrant workers are expected to register with Labour Ministry

Over 960,000 foreign migrant workers have registered with the Labour Ministry since April 1 and the number is expected to surpass one million when the deadline for registration ends on July 29.

According to the Labour Employment Department, altogether 965,203 migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar have registered since April 1 until July 27or.

Of these, 570,893 are migrant workers from Myanmar, 338,141 are Cambodians and 56,169 are Lao. There are also 20,627 dependents.

The Labour Employment Department predicted that the total number of registered migrant workers would surpass one million mark after the expiry of the deadline on July 29.

Department head Mr Arak Prommanee urged employers to bring their employees to register before the expiry of the deadline, warning that, after that, labour inspectors will start checking work places to find out if any of them are harbouring illegal workers.

Employers will face a maximum fine of 100,000 for having one illegal migrant worker and illegal migrant workers will face a maximum jailterm of five years and/or a fine of between 2,000-100,000 baht.

By: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

Published on: 29 July 2016

Migrant registration urged as extension deadline nears

The Department of Employment has urged employers to ensure their migrant workers from Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia complete the registration process allowing them to work in Thailand for another two years before the July 29 deadline or face harsh punishments.

Department chief Arrak Phrammani said Tuesday a total of 786,743 workers, 17,218 of whom were children, had registered at service centres and Employment Department offices in the provinces while almost 10,000 people had yet to register.

The registration period was extended from March 31. Mr Arrak warned the deadline would no longer be extended and after that his department would strictly examine employees and workplaces to see whether they hired alien workers who did not have work permits.
Violating employers face a maximum fine of 100,000 baht for each illegal worker. The workers face jail terms of up to five years and fines of up to 100,000 baht.

Under the Feb 23 cabinet resolution, migrant workers who have not had their nationalities verfied and hold temporary work permits, known as pink cards, are allowed to live and work in Thailand for a maximum of two years, or no later than March 31, 2018, after their work permits expired on March 31 this year.

Currently, pink-card holders can work in the country for one year and are then required to renew their work permits if they want to continue working.
The two-year renewal of the temporary work permit can be extended up to four times, or eight years in total.
The cabinet’s resolution applies to migrant workers from Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia. It also applies to their children aged under 18 who hold national verification documents issued by their countries of origin along with other documents such as passports, temporary passports, travel documents and certificates of identity.

The Prayut Chan-o-cha government has toughened up the law on illegal labourers since 2014 as part of its efforts to tackle human trafficking, especially in the fishing industry. Thailand was downgraded to the lowest Tier 3 status in the US State Department’s 2014 Trafficking in Persons report for failing to solve the problem.
Efforts to clean up the industry have been recognised by US authorities who announced on June 31 they would upgrade Thailand back to Tier 2 in the 2016 TIP report.

By: Bangkok Post

Published on: 12 July 2016

Suu Kyi to Meet With Migrant Workers During Thailand Visit

RANGOON — Burma State Counselor and Foreign Affairs Minister Aung San Suu Kyi will meet with Burmese migrant workers in Thailand during her visit to the country in late June, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Kyaw Zeya, a director-general from the foreign affairs ministry, told The Irrawaddy on Monday that specific itineraries have yet to be finalized; the two countries’ officials are still hashing out the details for the three-day visit scheduled from June 23 to 25. Suu Kyi will reportedly visit the fishing town of Mahachai in Samut Sakhon, which is home to a large Burmese migrant worker community.

“In promoting mutual relations and cooperation between our two countries, Burmese migrant worker issues also play an important role,” Kyaw Zeya said.

“She will go and meet them in order to hear their experiences and the difficulties they are facing,” he added, regarding Suu Kyi’s trip.

Kyaw Zeya also said that Suu Kyi has plans to visit Thailand’s refugee camps, but he was unable to confirm further details. Zaw Htay, the President Office’s spokesperson, declined to comment on whether President Htin Kyaw would join Suu Kyi on the trip.

A Thailand-based migrant workers’ rights activist, Andy Hall, told The Irrawaddy on Monday that the visit would be a dual opportunity for Suu Kyi to tackle the issue of migrant worker exploitation in Thailand and to keep a promise she made during a visit to Mahachai in 2012.

Suu Kyi’s 2012 trip to Thailand was her first outside of Burma after being released from house arrest, under which she was first placed in 1989. During this visit, she vowed to help Burmese migrant workers once she was in a position to do so.

“This time, she would go back to Mahachai. [I think] she wants to keep her promise to the migrant community,” Andy Hall said. “I think Suu Kyi will be trying to push the Thai government to give more training [to migrant workers] to increase [their] skills so that they can come back home to [Burma] and help build the country’s economy.”

Sein Htay, president of the Migrant Worker Rights Network (MWRN), said that Burmese migrant workers in Thailand believe that Suu Kyi will take the issue of migrant worker exploitation seriously, given her powerful position in Burma.

“Burmese migrant workers hope that she will help to improve legal protections for them, something that needs to be addressed urgently,” he said.

Sein Htay also emphasized the importance of skills training and the need for access to education and healthcare for migrant workers and their children, and how these issues need to be worked into long-term plans between the two countries.

According to MWRN’s estimation, there are some 3 million Burmese migrant workers in Thailand.

By: Tin Htet Paing, The Irrawaddy

Published on: 6 June 2016

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