Category Archives: Cambodia

Thailand: Two million migrant workers allowed to register

Bangkok (NNT/VNA) – There is good news for more than two million migrant workers in Thailand after a meeting of the Committee on the Migrant Worker Management Policy agreed to allow migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar whose work permits expire in 2019 and 2020 to renew their work permits without leaving the country.

Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan chaired the meeting of the Committee on the Migrant Worker Management Policy which approved guidelines for the management of migrant workers in 2019-2020.

It allows 2,056,467 migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar whose work permits have not yet expired, excluding those who were imported under the MoU system and those who hold a passport or documents used to replace passports that are still valid on the date of application for a temporary stay permit, to be permitted to stay under the MoU without having to travel out of the Kingdom.

hey will be allowed to stay in the Kingdom for not more than two years. Each seal of permission allows them to stay in the Kingdom for a period of not more than one year.

They are divided into two groups: 587,533 migrant workers whose work permits will expire before March 31, 2020, who are allowed to work until September 30, 2021, and 1,468,934 workers whose work permits will expire from March 31, 2020 onwards, who will be allowed to stay working until March 31, 2022.

Migrant workers who don’t want to stay in the Kingdom of Thailand, have to return to their country of origin at the end of the work permit. However, if they wish to work in Thailand again, they must legally return to Thailand or under the MoU system only.

The results of the meeting will be presented to the Cabinet within two weeks for approval. Then, migrant workers will be allowed to apply for a work permit and ask for permission to temporarily stay in the Kingdom from August 15, 2019, or within 15 days of the Cabinet’s date of approval. – NNT/VNA

Source: Vietnam Plus

Published on 15 July 2019

Link: https://en.vietnamplus.vn/thailand-two-million-migrant-workers-allowed-to-register/155916.vnp

Permit extensions mulled for workers

The Ministry of Labour will this month ask the cabinet to approve its proposal to extend work permits for migrant workers for another two years.

There are about two million eligible migrant labourers from Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.

The policy will save time and money for both labourers and employees, Sutthi Sukoson, permanent secretary for labour told reporters after a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, in his capacity as acting labour minister.

“Under this proposal, both migrant workers and their employers will find it more convenient when they contact the ministry’s one-stop service centres for the renewal of the workers’ work permits as these workers will no longer have to return home, as was required in the past,” said Mr Sutthi adding that the ministry will table the proposal to the cabinet sometime in the next two weeks.

It is hoped the new policy will come into force in time for workers in the fishery sector whose permits are due to expire between September and November of this year.

Apart from granting more years, the Ministry of Labour is developing an online platform for permit renewal, said Phetcharat Sin-ouy, director-general of the Department of Employment.

The system will allow workers to file documents and make appointment dates for renewing their permits.

Upon successfully registering for their work permit renewal, a migrant worker will be assigned a 13-digit ID, which will be connected to the government’s database of work permits granted to foreigners working in Thailand, she said.

That will help to make the work permit database more complete and labour authorities will be able to track these migrant workers more effectively in their task of ensuring the only do the specific types of work they are permitted to do, she said.

The online platform, she said will also help labourers save money when renewing their permits. The Thailand Development Research Institute found that migrant workers were charged hundreds of baht by agents and employers just for filing in documents and setting appointment dates.

Written by Penchan Charoensuthipan

Source: Bangkok Post

Published on 9 July 2019

Link: https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1709063/permit-extensions-mulled-for-workers

[Cambodia] Japanese trainers to improve migrant caregivers

In order to increase the amount of qualified Cambodian caregivers in Japan, the Japan Cambodia Interactive Association is planning to send trainers to help build their capacity here in the Kingdom’s Posen Chey Social Development Centre.

JCIA director Yamada Fumio told Labour Minister Ith Samheng during a meeting on Tuesday that the number of Cambodian caregivers in Japan is miniscule, and that Japanese seniors are in need of more.

“The training at the Posen Chey Social Development Centre in Phnom Penh has been smooth, but the number of trainees sent to Japan is still small,” he said.

In order to meet the demand, Mr Yamada said his organisation will send more Japanese trainers to increase the capacity of local caregivers.

Mr Yamada said the trainers will focus on healthcare in order to select and send more Cambodians to Japan.

Hou Vudthy, undersecretary of state with the Labour Ministry, said he supported Mr Yamada’s wishes.

“Minister Ith Samheng welcomed and supported Mr Yamada’s request to allow JCIA to provide more skills training for our [Cambodian] trainees,” Mr Vudthy said, noting that Mr Samheng told Mr Yamada to take care of Cambodian caregivers in Japan.

Mr Vudthy noted that Cambodian migrants go to Japan to either work or receive training.

He said that so far, about 8,000 Cambodian trainees and workers have been sent to Japan.

Additionally, Mr Yamada praised Cambodian caregivers who work in Japan for their diligence and satisfying work.

Written by Mom Kunthear
Source: Khmer Times
Published on 3 July 2019
Link: https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50620462/japanese-trainers-to-improve-migrant-caregivers/

IOM: Cambodian migrants in Thailand relatively poor

A study released on Friday by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University has said that the majority of Cambodian migrants in Thailand were “relatively poor”, with many depending on jobs paying less than the country’s minimum wage.

The study was carried out by IOM and Chulalongkorn’s Asean Research Centre for Migration (ARCM) which surveyed over 900 Cambodian migrant workers in six Thai provinces.

Researchers also interviewed some 122 key stakeholders, including government officials, employers and NGO staff using quantitative and qualitative methods.

An IOM press release sent to The Post on Sunday said: “Assessing Potential Changes in the Migration Patterns of Cambodian Migrants and their Impacts on Thailand and Cambodia investigates the situation of an estimated 650,000 Cambodians workers in Thailand and is among the most comprehensive research studies ever conducted on this poorly understood group.”

The report said most Cambodian migrants in Thailand were poor before they migrated, choosing to leave because of better job opportunities and higher wages across the border.

But the majority now work in relatively low-wage jobs concentrated in labour-intensive economic sectors including agriculture, construction, fishing and manufacturing, it said.

While 97 per cent of Cambodian migrants reported that their working conditions were “good” or “satisfactory”, the study found that one-third of those surveyed received less than the minimum wage of the Thai provinces in which they worked.

Despite their low wages, Cambodian migrants had remittance payments averaging 39,312 baht ($1,228) per year and interviewees said that remittances were crucial in maintaining or improving the living conditions of their families back in Cambodia.

Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman Heng Sour said the movement of labour is a feature of globalisation and regional integration, with both countries receiving benefits from it.

“For Cambodia, we also get benefits when our workers receive higher wages than those who work locally. They also have an opportunity to develop professional skills,” Sour said.

However, in January this year, the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator expressed concern that some Cambodian migrants working in Thailand are not enrolled in public health insurance schemes and that their children are unable to attend school.

Moeun Tola, the executive director of the Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights, told The Post in response to the report that based on the most recent estimates, there are about 1.7 to two million Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand, with 20 per cent of those undocumented.

He said undocumented workers were vulnerable and often cheated by Thai bosses. They work for several months, Tola said, but in the end, they do not receive their salary and sometimes bosses even call the Thai authorities to arrest them.

Tola said he was worried about fishing boat workers and some in the construction sector, as they were forced to take illegal drugs in order to have the energy to work, and they do not receive their salaries.

Written by Ry Sochan
Source: Phnom Penh Post
Published on 1 July 2019
Link: https://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/iom-cambodian-migrants-thailand-relatively-poor

Mekong SEZs commit to promoting ‘decent work’ for women migrant workers

During the Mekong Migration Network (MMN) and Asian Institute of Technology’s (AIT) workshop, Jobs in SEZs: Promoting Gender-Sensitive Policies in the Mekong Region, representatives of governments, special economic zone (SEZ) management bodies, and civil society from Myanmar, Cambodia, and Thailand, committed to promoting decent work in Mekong SEZs.

From 20-21 June, representatives of the Myanmar, Cambodian and Thai governments, Thilawa SEZ and Phnom Penh SEZ management committees, employer associations, UN agencies, Asian Development Bank, and civil society organisations (CSOs) gathered in Bangkok to hear research findings and recommendations from the Mekong Migration Network (MMN) and Asian Institute of Technology’s (AIT) recent project and forthcoming report that will be published next month, and to discuss what SEZs can and should do to promote opportunities for decent work for women migrant workers.

Influenced by the project’s findings on limited childcare supports for migrant workers in SEZs, Dr. Than Than Thwe, Joint Secretary 1 of Myanmar’s Thilawa SEZ Management Committee, presented a three-year plan to conduct a detailed survey on the childcare needs of Thilawa SEZ workers. This survey would lead to the implementation of SEZ-based, as well as potentially community-based, childcare centres. Dr. Than Than Thwe explained that factory owners’ monthly Corporate Social Responsibility contributions could support the development of these centres.

“On-site childcare is a win for everyone,” Dr. Than Than Thwe exclaimed, from employers, as it would contribute to “reducing labour shortages” and “increasing productivity,” to employees, as it would provide “a safe environment for their children” and “emotional security.” Spurred by the example of Thilawa SEZ, Mr. Sun Samouen, Senior Human Resource Manager of Phnom Penh SEZ, informed the plenary that Phnom Penh SEZ would also begin investigating the possibility of setting up a childcare centre in the zone.

Another encouraging initiative was shared by Mr. Soe Naing, Deputy Director of the Department of Labour under Myanmar’s Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population (MOLIP), and a representative of the Labour Section of Thilawa SEZ. Mr. Soe Naing informed participants that SEZ-based firms have agreed to pay new workers the full minimum wage from the onset of employment rather than training and probationary-period wages, which are legally less than the statutory minimum wage of 4,800 Myanmar kyat (or around 3 US dollars) per day.

During the workshop, participants from Myanmar actively debated the project’s recommendation to pay workers a living wage, agreeing on the need to study and account for inflation and the rising cost of living for families as opposed to gauging it on an individual’s basic needs, when devising a new minimum wage rate. A Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia representative shared Cambodia’s standing practice of reviewing the minimum wage annually through tripartite negotiations in line with ILO standards, and encouraged the Myanmar counterparts to consider doing the same. Since Myanmar’s Minimum Wage Law was adopted in 2013, a new minimum wage rate has been set roughly once every two years.

MMN and AIT researchers shared project findings revealing restrictions on workers’ access to freedom of association and limited social dialogue platforms across all of the studied SEZs. Study respondents reported cases of collective industrial actions being suppressed, trade unions struggling to be established, and outside unions failing to access workers inside the zones. During the meeting, representatives of the Thilawa SEZ Management Committee and MOLIP expressed a commitment to working with trade unions and labour rights organisations moving forward; a commitment which CSOs intend to closely follow up on.

Despite seeming enthusiasm for improved working conditions and access to labour rights in SEZs from some Myanmar and Cambodian actors, participants acknowledged the challenges that exist for Myanmar cross-border migrant workers in Thailand’s Tak SEZ. Employers in Tak are increasingly registering migrant workers for border passes under Section 64 of the Royal Ordinance on the Management of Foreign Workers Employment B.E. 2560 (2017), which grants workers 30-day visas and 90-day work permits. This form of registration excludes migrant workers from accessing social security benefits, limits their movement to the three districts classified as Tak SEZ, and prevents them from migrating with dependents, further reducing childcare options.

While issues were raised related to the need to recognise workers’ skills and pay them accordingly, CSOs shared that migrant workers in Tak SEZ continue to receive far less than the 310 Thai baht (10 US dollars) daily minimum wage, with the study finding that workers were receiving around 57% of the minimum wage (174 Thai baht or 5.66 US dollars) on average.

From 2016 to 2019, MMN and AIT, supported by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), investigated labour and migration issues through a gendered lens in four SEZs: Thilawa SEZ in Myanmar, Phnom Penh SEZ and Manhattan SEZ in Cambodia, and Tak SEZ in Thailand. Guided by the question of whether the jobs being created within Mekong SEZs are promoting ‘decent work’ – an International Labour Organization (ILO) concept for fair and secure job opportunities – for women migrant workers, the study focused its attention on the garment industry within these zones.

SEZ development has been expanding in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) in recent years. Myanmar is constructing three SEZs, while there are roughly 30 in Cambodia, 10 in Thailand, and over 30 in other GMS countries. The garment industry is being established in these spaces as investment privileges and quality infrastructure are aimed at attracting manufacturers seeking low production and labour costs.

Women represent the majority of the garment industry’s workforce, but are often concentrated in the lowest paying positions with the least recognised skills. The challenges they face are compounded when they are also migrants, who experience a unique set of vulnerabilities. Within the GMS, manufacturing production in SEZs increasingly hinges on internal and cross-border migrant labour.

Although MMN and AIT’s study found that the potential of Mekong SEZs to support decent work has not yet been realised, multi-stakeholder discussion during the two-day workshop, and the commitments expressed by the management teams of Cambodian and Myanmar SEZs, left some participants feeling hopeful that, through sustained collaborative and transparent efforts, SEZs could have the potential to set an example for decent labour practices.

Source: Mizzima
Published on 27 June 2019
Link: http://www.mizzima.com/article/mekong-sezs-commit-promoting-decent-work-women-migrant-workers

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