Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Migrants face Thai deadline

Migrants face Thai deadline

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A truckful of Cambodian migrant workers deported by Thai authorities arrives at the Poipet border crossing in July last year. Sahiba Chawdhary

Migrants face Thai deadline

The Ministry of Labour on Monday pledged to document what it says are the remaining 10,000 illegal Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand by the end of June.

All remaining undocumented Cambodian workers after the deadline passes face repatriation by Thai authorities.

Labour rights groups, however, have said that the number of undocumented Cambodians working in Thailand is actually much higher and that they can face difficulties in completing the documentation process.

According to an announcement by the ministry, issued on Monday, the deadline for worker documentation will expire on June 30.

It said as of Monday, Cambodian officials and their Thai counterparts had documented 1,070,000 Cambodian migrant workers.

“Thailand has permitted undocumented migrants to return to Cambodia to get documented and return to work in Thailand”, the announcement read.

It said Thailand will cooperate in good faith with Cambodia regarding the remaining undocumented workers and notify the Cambodian Embassy.

The ministry hailed the documentation drive as a “success” that benefits people of both countries.

However, Dy The Hoya, of labour rights group Central, said he believed the number of undocumented Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand was higher than the official figure.

He said the ministry may not be able to legalise all Cambodian undocumented workers in time, even after having extended the deadline on a number of previous occasions.

“The legal process has not been able to reach everyone. As for the ministry’s figure of 10,000 illegal Cambodian workers, I would say the number of remaining undocumented workers is not below 20,000 or 30,000,” he said.

Hoya said undocumented migrants faced difficulties in achieving full legal status.

“Migrant workers have told us that the legalisation process costs around 3,000-4,000 baht [around $90-$120], but some can spend up to 10,000 baht because unscrupulous employment brokers convince them that this is how much it costs,” he said.

Hoya said another stumbling block to registration is a lack of understanding of the law among employers, especially the owners of smaller businesses.

“[But] for large registered companies, they know the process and have their workers complete it,” he said.

Hoya said under the latest Thai law, illegal workers can be repatriated and their employers fined after the deadline expires.

However, he doesn’t think punishments will be implemented too heavily as Thailand still needs migrant workers to fill employment shortfalls, he said.

Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour declined to comment, referring The Post to the ministry’s announcement.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the