Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand are brimming with joy as news spread of re-entry fee waiver for the upcoming Khmer New Year holiday.

Prime Minister Hun Manet secured the welcome relief, allowing migrant workers and citizens of both countries to reunite with loved ones without re-entry fees.

Manet announced the news on February 8, following his official visit to Thailand the day before. The move comes after negotiations between the two governments to ease travel restrictions.

The waiver is a welcome relief for many Cambodians in Thailand who often travel home to celebrate the annual festival with their families. The cost of re-entry visas can be a significant financial strain, and the waiver will allow them to save money and spend more to celebrate with their loved ones, according to observers.

“I spoke with the Thai Prime Minister about our approaching New Year, and we’ve decided to offer a gift to our people on both sides by waiving the re-entry fee. Therefore, migrant workers visiting during the festival period won’t need to pay the fee,” he said.

Both Thais and Cambodians celebrate the traditional New Year, commonly known as Songkran.

“Thailand has agreed to consider waiving the fees for the entire month of April, but confirmation is still pending. They have indicated a positive signal, but please wait for official confirmation before making any travel plans. The usual re-entry visa fee is 1,000 baht ($28),” he said.

Manet also tasked the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training with organising traditional Khmer New Year celebrations at Cambodian embassies globally.

Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand hailed the government’s success in waiving re-entry visa fees for their upcoming return visits. They have taken to social media to express gratitude following the announcement.

Bul Chetra, a Cambodian worker at CP Company in Thailand’s Nakhon Ratchasima province, beamed and shared his happiness after learning of the fee waiver.

“I thank the government and wish Prime Minister Hun Manet and his wife blessings and continued national progress,” said Suon Srey Nich, another Cambodian worker residing in the Thai capital Bangkok.