Migrant workers group asks for action against corruption in issuing ID papers

Thailand-based rights group Migrants Workers Rights Network (MWRN) asked the Myanmar Ministry of Labour to take effective action against the corruption linked to the issuing of Certificates of Identity (CI) in the kingdom.

“Our migrants have to pay for more than the real price at CI issuing stations, which are directly operated by Myanmar officials.

“We met with Myanmar’s labour ministry officials to discuss about those shameful cases,” U Aung Kyaw, president of MWRN told The Myanmar Times on Monday.

MWRN’s members met with U Win Shein, director general of the labour department of the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population at Nay Pyi Taw two weeks ago. The group also asked for action against the corruption linked to issuing passports and the exploitation by agencies of workers being sent to Thailand under a program established by a Memorandum of Understanding between the two governments.

According to MWRN, they discussed with ministry officials to prevent workers from being exploited.

Over 400,000 illegal Myanmar migrants, who registered with the Thai government, will have to apply for CI from Myanmar next month.

Activists and Myanmar migrants in Thailand told The Myanmar Times that workers holding pink cards had to pay about 5000 baht (K204,161) to 8000 baht in the processes of applying for CI, Visa or work permits due to the various brokers, agencies and the corruption of some officials.

There are about 700,000 illegal migrants who have already registered with the Thai government during the grace period from July 24 to August 7. before a new strict labour law is enacted.

About 402,000 out of the 700,000 migrants are Myanmar nationals, according to statements from Thailand.

Currently, the Thai government is investigating and verifying the relationship between illegal migrants and their employers.

The illegal migrants who passed the verification process of Thailand would be given the chance to live and work in the country after they applied for CIs, visas and work-permits.

Those who failed to register will have to return to their native countries.

Myanmar migrant worker Ko Maung Maung told The Myanmar Times earlier in August that his employer asked about 8000 baht from workers holding a pink card and asked about 9000 baht from those who do not have the proper documents.

“It is easy to apply for CI here. But, we can’t apply for it since our employer refuses to provide his signed recommendation.

“He told us to use his agents in applying for those documents. He also told us ‘quit the job if you are not satisfied’”, said Ko Maung Maung.

U Aung Kyaw, president of MWRN, said that the two governments have officially estimated 2310 baht as an average overall cost for the illegal migrants who passed the verifying requirements with the Thai government.

This includes the cost of applying for a CI (3120 baht), visa (500 baht), and work permit (1000 baht) as well as a medical check-up (500 baht).

U Aung Kyaw, added that the labour director general U Win Shein ensured that he will look closely into the matter.

The Myanmar Times was unable to get comments from U Win Shein despite several attempts.

U Win Shein told the media on August 18 that they opened about seven CI issuing centers in Thailand, and that they are planning to open more CI issuing centers and mobile centers for illegal Myanmar workers who will have to apply for the CI in September.

By: Zaw Zaw Htwe, the Myanmar Times

Published on: 30 August 2017

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