Saturday, December 22, 2012

Yingluck ‘promised’ 3-month extension on migrant NV process, says minister

Saturday, 22 December 2012 14:50 THE BANGKOK POST

Myanmar's Labour Ministry has urged its Thai counterpart to extend nationality verification (NV) for migrant workers, claiming that Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had promised it during her visit to the neighbouring country.

Burmese migrants work on a fishing boat in Phang Nga in southern Thailand. (PHOTO: International Organization for Migration / Flickr)

Myo Aung, director-general of the ministry's Department of Labour, insisted that the Thai premier had vowed to extend NV for three months during her visit to Dawei.

Ms Yingluck travelled to Myanmar [Burma] on Monday to address the cooperation on the Dawei deep-sea port project.

Myo Aung raised the issue Friday during the "Thai-Myanmar Technical Meeting" with Pravit Khiengpol, director-general of the Department of Employment, at the Pullman Hotel in Bangkok.

The process must be carried on so that Myanmar workers can undergo NV and have their rights protected in the same way as Thai employees, he added.

Myo Aung also urged Thai authorities to speed up the NV process so that most or all migrant workers will be able to proceed with it.

Mr Pravit, however, insisted the NV process had definitely ended on Dec 14.

He said that migrant workers who failed to undergo the process will be considered illegal. They must be apprehended and deported, he added.

However, Mr Pravit said the ministry is considering a new legal channel for importing labour under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which Thailand has signed with neighbouring countries.

The MoU will allow migrant workers to enter Thailand through legal channels in order to meet specific skills shortages and employers' demands.

Mr Pravit said the method will pave the way for Thai employers to bring in migrant workers in line with the MoU.

Employers who want to hire migrant workers in future must lodge their requests following the MoU procedure, he added.

Yesterday's [Friday’s] meeting also agreed to enable Labour Minister Padermchai Sasomsap and his Myanmar counterpart Myint Thein, who will meet today, to jointly decide whether NV or the MoU should be implemented, he said.

According to Mr Pavit, more than 300,000 migrant workers are expected to be deported now the NV deadline has ended. Of those facing deportation, 150,000 are Cambodians, 99,000 are Lao and 60,000 are from Myanmar.

This article was originally published in The Bangkok Post on December 22, 2012.
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