Friday, July 27, 2012

Burma-Thailand planning to change migrant worker process

Friday, 27 July 2012 12:31 Mizzima News

Burma and Thailand are planning a major overhaul in how migrant workers can enter and work in Thailand, the Minister of Labour said on Friday.

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.

Also, he said the December 14 deadline for registration of illegal migrant workers will not be extended, according to an article in The Nation on Friday.

Burmese migrant workers are a main labour source for the Thai fishing industry. Photo: AFP

The minister cited agreements discussed during President Thein Sein’s visit to Bangkok this week.

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 on Monday 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.

“I'm trying to promote job placements under a government-to-government deal to decrease workers' expenses,” Padermchai said.

A migrant worker in Thailand can earn a daily minimum wage of 300 baht (US$ 9.50) compared to around $1 a day in Burma.

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