MYAWADY – More than 10,000 Myanmar migrants have entered Thailand through the border town of Myawady in the past three months to seek jobs.
An official from the Maywady-Mae Sot Friendship Bridge noted that the traffic has increased and some workers may face difficulties as both countries celebrate the water festival, so-called Thingyan in Myanmar and Songkran in Thailand.
Most of Myanmar migrants came from Rakhine state, Bago, Magway and Ayeyawady regions.
Many migrant workers returned home last year due to the crackdown on illegal migrant workers.
Employment agencies, which legally send Myanmar workers to Thailand, need to take responsibilities for finding work for them, said the official.
It is estimated that nearly 2 million migrant workers, mainly from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, are in Thailand.
Thailand has signed a memorandum of understanding on labour cooperation with Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. Under the MoU, migrant workers with legal documents can work in Thailand for two years, with the option to extend for another two years.
Cambodia and Myanmar in January began working with Thai authorities on the workers’ nationality verification process. As of January 6, the nationality of nearly 36,000 Cambodians and 65 Myanmar citizens had been verified. Laos later started the process.
Myanmar migrants are forced to seek work in neighbouring countries, mainly Thailand, because of low job opportunities at home and low salaries. Therefore, the number of migrants who left for Thailand through the Myawady-Mae Sot route has been on the rise.
Returning to Thailand is a way to support their families, despite the neighbouring country’s effort to block the entry of illegal workers. According to the Myanmar Police Force under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Thailand has deported over 50,000 illegal Myanmar migrant workers in five-year period between 2011 and 2015.
Source: The Nation