Thursday, December 20, 2012

Three million Burmese working abroad, says govt

Thursday, 20 December 2012 16:50 Khin Myo Thwe

Some three million Burmese are currently working abroad—the vast majority in neighboring Thailand, according to the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security.

The Ministry made the announcement on Wednesday, December 18, at a ceremony at the International Convention Centre in Naypyitaw to mark International Migrants Day.

In 2003, Burma and Thailand signed an agreement to cooperate in legalizing the status of Burmese migrant workers in Thailand. Relevant work permits and temporary passports began being issued in 2009.

“Temporary passports have been provided to 1.2 million Myanmar migrant workers,” said an official from the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security. “However, it is estimated that 800,000 to 1 million workers remain unregister and undocumented, therefore the two countries will cooperate to issue the relevant documents to them.”

According to US-based Human Rights Watch, some 250,000 Burmese migrants work on Thai fishing boats or in the fisheries industry.

In Malaysia, passports have been issued to more than 101,000 Burmese migrant workers, said the official, adding that plans were under way to issue 100,000 more passports to undocumented migrant workers in the country.

Apart from Thailand and Malaysia, the most popular countries for Burmese to seek work are South Korea, Japan and the Middle East.

“Most of the Myanmar migrants in Thailand work in the fish and prawn industries and other jobs where Thai people don’t want to work,” said Ko Thet Lwin, a former migrant worker who recently returned to Burma. “If the wages were higher at home, many more Burmese would come back.”
Related articles:

Leave a Reply