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Thai Labour Ministry Sets up 99 Centres to Register Illegal Foreign Workers

Thailand’s labour ministry plans to register workers from Myanmar who do not have proper documents at 99 migrant centres around the nation, according to Thai-based migrant worker rights groups.

Petcharat Sinouy, inspector-general and spokesperson of the Thai Labour Ministry, said in a statement last week that the migrant centres will gather documents and photographs from workers and their employers.

She also said employees will be given a receipt by the migrant centre officer who accepts the documents.

U Aung Kyaw, vice chair of the Migrant Workers Rights Network, told The Myanmar Times on Tuesday that the migrant centres will be open every day from July 24 to August 7 to register illegal migrant workers.

Migrant workers who get the receipts from the Labour Ministry can go back to Myanmar and will be allowed to return to their Thai employers as legal workers within 180 days, said U Aung Kyaw.

“Under the program, employers who hire illegal foreigner workers must inform a migrant centre within 15 days to get the receipts. Illegal workers who have receipts can apply for a certificate of identity or can return home for apply for a passport,” said U Aung Kyaw.

“The receipts are essential for illegal workers,” he added.

The registration program is intended to address the lack of workers in Thailand and to help employers in Thailand who are using illegal foreigner workers, according to the group.

But Ko Shwe Tun Aye, chair of the Migrant Workers Network in Phuket, said 15 days are not enough for workers and employers to prepare for registration.

Other Myanmar migrant activists also said the two governments must work together to supervise the migrant registration program to prevent illegal Myanmar migrant workers from being exploited by unscrupulous brokers working with some employers and corrupt officials.

They said Myanmar migrant workers have been exploited in every program for illegal migrants that has been tried in Thailand.

The Thai government launched a crackdown on illegal foreign workers after issuing harsh new labour laws on June 23 that include a prison term and a fine for employers who hire illegal workers.

Thousands of Myanmar migrant workers have returned home, and Thai business have faced a shortage of workers.

After a public uproar, the government was forced to suspend the new laws for six months to give illegal migrant workers and their employers more time to satisfy the new requirements.

There are about four million Myanmar migrant workers living and working in Thailand, of which about one million do not have the proper documents, according to Myanmar migrant right groups.

 

Source: The Myanmar Times

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