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

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