Category Archives: Thailand

MMN Convenes Multi-stakeholder workshop on Migrants in Agriculture

On 19 December 2019, Mekong Migration Network (MMN),  a network of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) advocating for migrants’ rights in the Mekong region, held a multi-stakeholder workshop on Migrant Agricultural Workers in Thailand at the IBIS Riverside hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. Over 40 participants, including migrant workers representatives, Thai government officials from the Ministry of Labour, Cambodian government officials, CSOs from Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia, the International Labour Organization (U.N.), and experts attended the Workshop to hear findings from MMN’s upcoming publication on migrant agricultural workers in Thailand and discuss how stakeholders can work towards improving protection mechanisms afforded this group of workers. 

Between 2016 and 2019, MMN conducted collaborative research focusing on the agricultural industry because of the unique issues migrants face working in geographically isolated farms/plantations and the historical exclusion of agricultural workers from Thai labour laws. Based on empirical research conducted on cassava, corn, rubber and palm oil plantations in different parts of Thailand, the resulting study provides a textured account of migrants’ working experiences and proposes recommendations to safeguard migrants’ rights and expand services provided to them.

The three panels of the workshop focused on three key issues related to agricultural migrant workers: labour protection, access to social services and social protection, and occupational health and safety. At each panel, migrant representatives and CSOs shared common issues and violations at the workplace, as well as challenges workers face in accessing their entitlements and the justice mechanism. Officials from the Thai government also discussed the government’s latest initiatives to enhance existing protection mechanisms, including plans to expand the role of labour inspectors, ensure that all migrant workers are able to participate in Thailand’s Social Security System and Workmen’s Compensation Fund, conduct training on occupational health and safety, and work with neighbouring countries of origin, namely Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar, on issues related to migration statuses of agricultural workers.

MMN thanks all participants for contributing to an engaging discussion. On 30 January 2020 at 11 AM, MMN will launch the report Migrant Agricultural Workers in Thailand at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand in Bangkok, Thailand. We hope to use the platform to further the dialogue on agricultural migrant workers in Thailand, whose contributions have for long been largely unnoticed and whose voices have gone mostly unheard.


For quotes of the event, please click here.


Participants of the workshop.

Participants of the workshop.

A migrant representative shares her experiences working on a palm oil plantation.

A migrant representative shares his experience working on corn, pineapple and sugar cane plantations.

A Thai government official shares plans to ensure all migrant workers participate in the Thai Social Security System and Workmen’s Compensation Fund.



Myanmar migrant workers in 2019 exceed 300,000

Over 305,000 people went overseas for work during 2019 according to the data from the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population.

Monthly numbers of workers going abroad from January to November 2019 are 23,235 in January, 22,523 in February, 22,534 in March, 20,766 in April, 30,326 in May, 26,787 in June, 30,826 in July, 33,805 in August, 36,902 in September, 27,186 in October and 30,841 in November. Thailand tops the destination countries for Myanmar migrant workers and Malaysia the second.

“There are currently about four million Myanmar workers in foreign countries either officially or unofficially. Laws have been enacted for working officially. But, some workers are still going unofficially with the help of those who are already in that country,” said U Kyaw Htwe, Chair of Immigration and Local Overseas Labour Committee (Amyotha Hluttaw).

The countries to which Myanmar people legally go to work are Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Korea, Japan, UAE, Jordan, Qatar, and Macao. Fewest people go to work in Qatar – only 276 people in two years.

The ministry will make necessary preparations in order that Myanmar domestic workers can be legally sent to Singapore, said the Union Minister U Thein Swe, minister for Labour, Immigration and Population, said at the meeting with Myanmar Oversea Employment Services Entrepreneurs Association in the first week of January 2020.

There were a total of 313 licensed oversea employment services companies until December 26, 2019, according to the stats of the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population.

Last year, the Immigration, Local and Oversea Workers Committee (Amyotha Hluttaw) received a total of 204 complaint letters regarding the losses of oversea workers, but 140 letters among which were only kept as records because of insufficient reason, according to the committee.

Relevant action taken and suggestions were sent back to the senders of 50 letters, while seven senders of the letters were directly dealt with, according to the committee.  – Translated

Written by Yu Wai
Source: Myanmar Times
Published on 14 January 2020

[Mekong News in Thai] เปิด..ต่อบัตรชมพูุแรงงานต่างด้าว ก่อนหมดอายุ 31 มี.ค.63

วันที่ 13 มกราคม 2563 หม่อมราชวงศ์จัตุมงคล โสณกุล รัฐมนตรีว่าการกระทรวงแรงงาน พร้อมด้วย ดร.ดวงฤทธิ์ เบ็ญจาธิกุล ชัยรุ่งเรือง ผู้ช่วยรัฐมนตรีประจำกระทรวงแรงงาน นายสุทธิ สุโกศล ปลัดกระทรวงแรงงาน นางเธียรรัตน์ นะวะมะวัฒน์ รองอธิบดีกรมการจัดหางาน และผู้บริหารกระทรวงแรงงาน ลงพื้นที่ตรวจเยี่ยมการปฏิบัติงานของศูนย์บริการเบ็ดเสร็จ ( One Stop Service : OSS ) จังหวัดสุราษฎร์ธานี ณ วิทยาลัยเทคโนโลยีสุราษฎร์ธานี (เทคโนบางกุ้ง) เลขที่ 1 หมู่ที่ 1 ถนนกาญจนวิถี ตำบลบางกุ้ง อำเภอเมือง จังหวัดสุราษฎร์ธานี

พร้อมมอบนโยบายและทิศทางการดำเนินงาน โดยมี นางเมทิกา สัตตานุสรณ์ จัดหางานจังหวัดพังงา รักษาราชการแทนจัดหางานจังหวัดสุราษฎร์ธานี ให้การต้อนรับและนำเยี่ยมชม

Myanmar govt to increase licence fees of employment agencies

The government is discussing an increase in licence fees paid by employment agencies sending workers to Thailand, a senior labour official said.

U Win Shein, director general of the Department of Labour, said there are ongoing talks with employment agencies on how much the licence fees would be increased.

“We are looking to increase the licence fees to K25 million (US$17,000),” he said.

There are 260 Myanmar employment agencies sending workers to Thailand, Singapore and Japan. They pay the government K5 million in licence fees each and another K5 million each to the Thai government.

U Kyaw Htin, an executive of the Myanmar Overseas Employment Agencies Federation (MOEAF), confirmed the ongoing talks to raise the fee.

“They want to collect K20 million more,” he said.  “What will we do if the government issues a notice even though we are not okay with it.”

The latest meeting between labour officials and representatives of employment agencies was held on Wednesday in Nay Pyi Taw.

At present Myanmar sends workers to 18 countries, with Thailand as the top destination for migrant workers. Last year, more than 700,000 migrant workers were registered in the kingdom, according to the Thai government and tens of thousands more are illegal workers.

Last year, Thailand deported over 70,000 Myanmar migrant workers who did not have valid travel and working documents.

Due to lack of job opportunities in the country, thousands of Myanmar workers try their luck abroad. Data from the government showed that up to 1000 migrant workers leave for Thailand every day. – Translated

Written by Khin Myat Myat Wai
Source: Myanmar Times
Published on 13 January 2020

Over 234,000 MoU workers leave for Thailand last year

Myanmar dispatched over 234,000 MoU workers to Thailand last year, according to the Labour Department.

The number of MoU workers has increased though the factories faced the shutdowns due to the market restrictions caused by the violations of human rights in the marine product factories in Thailand. Due to the shutdown of factories, some Myanmar migrant workers become jobless and go home.

The number of MoU workers who left for Thailand reached 31,828 in 2014, 52,765 in 2015, 97,998 in 2016, 145,161 in 2017 and over 150,000 in 2018.

U Moe Kyaw, head of YaungchiOo Labour Affairs Office said: “There are more than 400 factories and plants in Mae Sot. In addition to the factories, more than 250,000 Myanmar migrant workers are working in construction sites, farming, housemaid services and shops. Thai government has fixed 310 baht for a eight-hour working day in Mae Sot. Myanmar migrant workers from around five factories earn their salaries fully. But Myanmar migrant workers from other factories and work sites get 150-200 baht only. They also face the violations in health and social affairs.”

Myanmar workers migrant mostly to Thailand with more than four million workers.

On average, Myanmar officially sends 800-1000 MoU workers to Thailand via Myawady border gate a day. But many workers return to Myanmar as some job agencies do not send them to the worksites agreed under the contract.

Source: Eleven Myanmar
Published on 12 January 2020

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