Burmese gov’t to offer migrants chance to return home
Around 150,000 Burmese refugees and migrants now living in Thailand will be given government aid to voluntarily return to their country, officials of the Ministry of Social Welfare and Resettlement said.
The ministry is now drawing up a plan in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Ministry of Immigration, according to an article by Eleven Media Group (EMG) on Tuesday.
The plan would mostly affect Kayin and Mon nationalities, who would receive some aid for their cost of living and career opportunity training during their return.
“Initially, we will work on accepting those in Thailand who want to come back to Burma after being scrutinized,” Than Htut Swe, the director-general of the Ministry of Social Welfare and Resettlement, was quoted as saying.
A certificate of identity would be issued to any Burmese migrant worker in Thailand who wants to return home for good, said the report, excluding law breakers who would have to face the charges against them.
“We are trying to carry this out after it was submitted to the president’s office. The president has also highlighted the issues about refugees and migrant workers during his recent trip to Thailand, “said Than Htut Swe.
At the same time Burma is talking about bring some migrant home, it is also working to streamline the migrant worker hiring process with Thai authorities. In July, Mizzima reported that Thailand is planning a major overhaul in how Burmese migrant workers can enter and work in Thailand, the Minister of Labour said.
Thai Labour Minister Phadermchai Sasomsap said that Thailand wants to change the system with workers only being brought here via government-to-government contracts in the long run.
The minister cited agreements discussed during President Thein Sein’s visit to Bangkok in July.
The “government-to-government contracts” would last for two years and not exceed four years, he said.
In regard to the Dec. 14 deadline to register illegal migrants, he said it would be the final date.
He also said Thein Sein specifically asked for help from Thai authorities to make it easier for Burmese workers to send money home, as well as get skills and career training, plus better welfare and protection from abuse by employers.
The Bangkok Post reported that Padermchai said his focus is now is to make sure migrant workers get jobs and wages that are stated in their work contracts, which they would sign before travelling abroad.
Thailand has a government-to-government employment deal with Israel, and similar deals are also being made with Japan and Korea, he said.
He also wants workers to sign contracts directly with employers, rather than relying on job placement agents who often demand large sums of money.