Category Archives: Myanmar

Myanmar construction industry ready to provide jobs for returnees

The country’s construction industry is ready to provide jobs for returning migrant workers who have the required experience, an official of a local contractors’ association said.

U Shein Win, chair of the Myanmar Construction Entrepreneurs Federation, said members of the group have job vacancies at construction sites for workers returning from foreign countries due to COVID-19.

He called on the workers to contact his office before July 17 if they are interested. “There are MCEF members all across the country,” he said. “If they drop a CV at our office, we will find them jobs and contact the construction sites appropriate for them.”

The federation would also help local construction companies navigate the government tender process if they need help.

U Shein Win said the government should promote tenders to create more jobs in the country

U Myo Myint, managing director of MKT Construction Co, said work had resumed at about 90 percent of construction sites in the country.

At the end of March, nearly all private construction sites in Yangon Region came to a halt due to COVID-19. But businesses reopened, and construction and government tenders resumed in early June.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) warned that millions of migrant workers worldwide could face unemployment and poverty after returning from abroad to their home countries.

Myanmar has seen the steady return of migrant workers from abroad in the past two months, with over 71,000 coming back from Thailand alone. Thousands have also returned from China, Malaysia, Singapore, and South Korea since March.

U Htoo Chit, executive director of the Foundation for Education and Development, said that while it is laudable for the government and private sector to offer help finding jobs to returning workers, they must make first increase wages.

U Kyaw Myint of the Confederation of Trade Unions said Myanmar’s daily minimum wage is K4800, while Thailand’s is more than three times that at 325 baht, or about K15,000.

Michelle Leighton, chief of the ILO’s Labour Migration Department said that with the right policies, the returning migrant workers could be a major resource in their home countries’ efforts to recover from the impact of COVID-19.

“These migrants will bring with them talents and new skills, and in some cases capital, that can support efforts in their home countries to rebuild better,” she said.

Written by Yee Ywal Myint
Source: Myanmar Times
Published on 29 June 2020

Quarter of a Million Myanmar Workers Left Jobless Due to COVID-19

YANGON—Around 250,000 Myanmar workers have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 crisis both locally and internationally as factories, shops, restaurants and other major employers have been forced to close, the Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population (MOLIP) said on Friday.

Deputy Labor Minister U Myint Kyaing said at the ministry’s press conference on Friday that more than 110,000 Myanmar workers returned home from overseas countries including Thailand and China between March and June after losing their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, more than 140,000 locally based workers have been left without work due to the outbreak following the closures of 5,658 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and 270 large factories, shops and restaurants.

According to U Myint Kyaing, all migrant returnees have been listed at township-level labor departments in all regions and states. He added that the labor departments have recorded the skills of those returnees and would try to find jobs for them in local sectors.

The ministry said it had managed to find jobs for many returnees in the industrial and other sectors that have managed to resume operations.

Despite offering to send workers, Myanmar is having difficulty placing laborers abroad due to a lack of flights and continued lockdowns in many countries.

U Myint Kyaing also said that about 1.1 million Myanmar workers who are registered in Thailand under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreed by the two countries would be reemployed after their initial job contracts expire.

At the Thai government’s request, the Myanmar government will facilitate the extension of the workers’ documentation, the deputy minister said.

The ministry is also in discussions with employers who have invested in Myanmar to find jobs for those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We are implementing various methods to create employment opportunities,” U Myint Kyaing said.

U Myo Myint Than, Myanmar’s ambassador to Thailand, said during a videoconference with State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on June 2 that about 60,000 workers from Myanmar are  currently waiting to travel to Thailand for employment under the bilateral MoU.

The Labor Ministry expects Thailand, which is the source of most foreign jobs for Myanmar workers, to resume employment at the end of July, while the second-most important source of jobs, Malaysia, would not be able to resume employing workers until after August due to the COVID-19 lockdown there.

“We are ready to send labor abroad, as we have labor demand letters. But, we can only send them if the receiving countries allow it,” U Myo Aung, MOLIP permanent secretary, said at Friday’s press conference.

During the global COVID-19 pandemic, Myanmar has not been able to send any laborers abroad; it was able to create new local job opportunities for 9,300 people in April and for 6,000 people in May.

Before COVID-19, up to 30,000 workers traveled to nine countries monthly and more than 20,000 workers were employed locally each month, according to the ministry’s data.

Written by Zaw Zaw Htwe
Source: Irrawaddy
Published on 26 June 2020

ILO warns of migrant workers crisis as Myanmar ponders returnees’ role

The International Labour Organization (ILO) warned that many millions of migrant workers could face unemployment and poverty after losing their jobs abroad due to COVID-19 and returning to their home countries.  

The ILO said millions of migrant workers stranded abroad might be required to return home as countries began easing travel restrictions aimed at containing the virus.

“Even those with jobs may accept reduced wages and cramped worksite accommodations where social distancing is impossible, putting them at greater risk of contracting the virus,” it said.

The UN labour body said the families of migrant workers “will suffer financially from the loss of the remittances.”

“This is a potential crisis within a crisis,” said Manuela Tomei, director of the ILO’s Conditions of Work and Equality Department. “We know that many millions of migrant workers, who were under lockdown in their countries of work, have lost their jobs and are now expected to return home to countries that are already grappling with weak economies and rising unemployment. Cooperation and planning are vital to avert a worse crisis.”

An estimated 164 million people are migrant workers worldwide, nearly half of them women, comprising 4.7 percent of the global workforce, the ILO said.

Myanmar has seen a steady influx of migrant workers returning from abroad in the past two months, with over 71,000 returning from Thailand alone.

Thousands of Myanmar workers have also returned from China, Malaysia, Singapore, and South Korea since March.

Over 4 million Myanmar nationals work abroad, including more than 2.3 million in Thailand.

Government, business groups, migrant aid groups and employment agencies have been seeking ways to use the skills of the returnees to aid the country’s development.

U Aung Naing Oo, permanent secretary of the Myanmar Investment Commission, said earlier that regional and state governments are collecting data on the skills of the returning workers to create jobs that match them.

“We plan to use their skills in the country’s economic recovery,” he said.

U Maung Maung Lay, vice president of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said the plan could help the country’s economy rebound in the post-COVID-19 period.

However, U Htoo Chit, executive director of the Foundation for Education and Development, said that Myanmar must first boost the workers’ daily wages and social welfare services.

He said the government could tap the workers’ skills in agriculture, fishing and construction work if they are paid proper wages.

U Kyaw Myint of the Confederation of Trade Unions in Myanmar said Myanmar’s daily minimum wage is K4800, and Thailand’s is 325 baht, or about K15,000.

He said that although he welcomes the plan to survey the returning workers’ skills, it is important to focus on the working conditions in the country.

He added that his group will cooperate with the government to provide jobs for the returnees, depending on their skills.

U Peter Nyunt Maung, deputy chair of the Myanmar Overseas Employment Agencies Federation, said recently that the thousands of Myanmar workers returning from Thailand would most likely not get their jobs back, as the Thai government would prioritise giving the jobs to Thais when its economy reopens.

The ILO said countries such as Myanmar need to have social protections in place for returning workers to help reintegrate them into the national workforce.

“Returning migrant workers bring skills and talent that could help their countries rebuild better after the pandemic,” the ILO said.  “However, the key to unlocking this potential is the establishment of a rights-based and orderly return and reintegration system, access to social protections, and proper skills recognition.”

Michelle Leighton, chief of the ILO’s Labour Migration Department said, “with the right policies, the return of these workers can be converted into a resource for recovery.”

“These migrants will bring with them talents and new skills, and in some cases capital, that can support efforts in their home countries to rebuild better. We must help these countries grasp the opportunity,” she said.

Written by Tint Zaw Tun and John Grafilo
Source: Myanmar Times
Published on 26 June 2020

Thailand seeks return of Myanmar workforce

Thailand is preparing to welcome back Myanmar migrant workers who left the kingdom after losing their jobs due to the COVID-19 outbreak, according to an employment agency group.

U Peter Nyunt Maung, deputy chair of the Myanmar Overseas Employment Agencies Federation, said the Thai and Myanmar governments and employment agencies are negotiating healthcare coverage for the workers.

Under Thai regulations, foreigners must have at least US$100,000 (K138.1 million) in health insurance to cover the cost of any COVID-19 treatment. The workers must also be quarantined for 14 days at their own expense in Thailand.

“Before, we processed from 500 to 1000 employment contracts for Thailand,” he said. “Now we will accept only about 250, due to COVID-19.”

No new employment contracts are available for Malaysia, but employment agencies expect Japan to increase its demand for workers from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, as they have low COVID-19 infection rates.

The government said that from December 2019 to March 2020, Myanmar was still able to send about 100,000 workers to Thailand, Malaysia, Japan and South Korea.

Over 71,000 Myanmar workers had returned from Thailand as of June 21, according to the government.

More than 4 million Myanmar nationals have sought jobs abroad, mostly in Thailand. Last year, over 305,000 people left Myanmar for work, and an estimated 2.3 million Myanmar people work in the kingdom.

Myanmar workers sent home an estimated US$910 million in 2018, accounting for about 1.06 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Written by Tint Zaw Tun
Source: Myanmar Times
Published on 25 June 2020

‘Recovered’ workers released last month

A total of 19 out of 23 migrants from Myanmar who tested positive for Covid-19 were reportedly released in last month following their quarantine period.

Pol Lt Gen Sompong Chingduang, chief of the immigration bureau, yesterday said the 19 had recovered and were allowed to leave state quarantine.

He made the comment after hearing about news reports saying the 23 tested positive recently after returning from Myanmar, which worried the public.

“These labourers from Myanmar tested positive for Covid-19 and were hospitalised until they were cleared,” Pol Lt Gen Sompong said. “Some of them came from Malaysia, while others worked in Songkhla province.”

He noted they were placed at a state-quarantine facility in Songkhla’s Sadao district.

Pol Lt Gen Sompong said he will order the Immigration Bureau to update him regarding the four other workers from Myanmar.

Aside from Covid-19 fears, Pol Lt Gen Sompong said the Immigration Bureau has arrested 12,223 undocumented migrants who snuck through the border since March.

He said they were migrant labourers who confessed they committed the act because the Thai border has been closed during the lockdown. They reportedly worked as housemaids while others came to look for jobs.

In other news, the Immigration Bureau yesterday said it arrested a member of a gang that smuggled undocumented workers from Myanmar into the kingdom.

He was identified by Pol Lt Gen Sompong as Surat, or Moo, a public van driver in Surat Thani province.

The arrest came after Immigration Police arrested a person suspected of smuggling nine migrant workers from Myanmar and another public van driver in the same province on March 2.

He was identified as Viroj, or Boy, who reportedly confessed he worked for a gang that produces fake passports and smuggles migrant labourers.

Source: Bangkok Post
Published on 24 June 2020

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