Burma to extend migrant workers’ passports
Burma will extend the issuance of temporary passports for registered migrants in Thailand by the end of this year, according to Burmese local media.
Since 2009, provisional passports have been issued to about 700,000 out of 2 million Burmese migrant workers in Thailand. An estimated remaining 500,000 are undocumented, said 7-Day News.
The passports are part of the process to allow Burmese migrant workers to work and travel legally in Thailand.
A migrant worker in Thailand can earn a daily minimum wage of 300 baht (US$ 9.5) compared to as low as $1 a day in Burma.
According to Burmese official statistics, the number of Burmese workers legally employed to work in 15 foreign countries reached 330,311 as of 2010.
Burmese migrant workers are found mostly in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Libya, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, Switzerland, Brunei Darussalam, United Arab Emirates, America, France, Germany, Qatar and Kuwait.
Mizzima reported in May that Burmese illegal migrants were being rounded up in central Thailand and transferred to Mae Sot to be deported. Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra announced a crackdown on illegal migrant labourers in March.
Labour advocates said information from Mae Sot on the Thai border where the workers were deported suggested many of the workers would be processed through brokers and return to their jobs in Khon Kaen, Kanchanaburi or other areas. They said it was unclear if Thai authorities interviewed the deportees to establish cases of human trafficking or child exploitation prior to their deportation.
Sources said many of those arrested could potentially be classified as trafficking victims, and that up to 30 to 40 child workers between ages 13 to16 were also arrested in the raids.
Thailand and Burma continue to have no systematic and protective mechanisms in place at borders to process Burmese deportees from Thailand.
Sources said many recently deported illegal Burmese migrants would soon arrive back at their jobs with the help of exploiting brokers and traffickers.