via CAAI News Media
Over a million illegal migrant workers in Thailand are facing deportation. According to new regulations, any migrant worker who failed to apply for an official work permit before the March 2nd deadline could be sent home at any time.
Migrant workers need to submit papers from their home country to become legal migrants and to get a work permit.
The government says the new regulations aim to improve the standard of the working environment for migrants and to provide them with health care.
But critics accuse the process of being too complicated and costly, as the migrants need to return home to get the national certification from their own governments.
Additionally, migrants have to pay $118 to apply for the work permit… but many of them have to pay double to brokers to get it faster and avoid any complications.
[Tuay, Migrant Worker from Burma]:
“I don't have money so I don't have the rights to say anything. If they are going to arrest us, there is nothing I can do.”
Thailand has more than two million migrant workers from Laos, Cambodia and Burma.
Many say the deportation will affect Thailand’s economy as the migrants make up about six percent of the workforce.
The nationality verification process doesn’t apply to those ethnic minorities from Burma who fled their home due to human rights violations.
Many agree with Thailand to formalize migrations but are against the deportations.
[Andy Hall, Human Rights and Development Foundation]:
"So we are against any kind of deportation and what we are fear for all of these, in fact even if the deportation doesn't take place, these migrant workers are now illegal. They are unregistered and we are worried that they gonna become the victims of the systematic exploitation by like the corrupt officials.”
In 2009, police sent back almost 350-thousand workers to their countries but many of them returned to Thailand when they got a chance.