"Million Migrant" Mass Information Campaign Starts in Thailand
IOM Thailand has kicked off a campaign targeting a million irregular migrants with information on registration and new documentation procedures.
A previous National Verification deadline passed last December, but the Government approved a grace period on January 15, giving irregular Burmese/Myanmar, Laotian and Cambodian migrant workers and their children 120 days to register. Some 1.3 million migrants have now done so, but an estimated one million are still unregistered.
IOM's campaign, which is being carried out with government counterparts, international organizations and NGOs covers Bangkok, Tak, Ranong, Phang Nga and other key migrant destination provinces.
"We want to get the word out there so that employers and migrants can complete the process of regularization," said Jeff Labovitz, IOMs Chief of Mission in Thailand. "That way workers will be able to lawfully reside and work in Thailand, with their children, and enjoy rights and benefits like the minimum wage, education and healthcare."
Activities started off on 24 February in Tak province. Mobile advertising cars began visiting migrant communities, markets and factories around the Mae Sot, Mae Ramad and Phob Pra districts, while radio spots outlining the grace period and regularization procedure are playing on local radio stations.
In Ranong, IOM, the Provincial Employment Office and World Vision Thailand will launch their information campaign activities this week. As in Tak Province, mobile advertising cars will begin circulating in migrant communities and in areas heavily frequented by migrants, including markets.
"A lot of questions are being asked as to the take-up of the National Verification procedure, and whether the deadline will be met," said Labovitz. "IOM and its partners are working as hard as possible to make all those ‘what ifs' hypothetical because we believe this is in the best interests of the migrants, of Thailand's economy and for Thai society in general."