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110,000 illegal workers register

More than 100,000 undocumented Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand have registered for a one-year amnesty from deportation or arrest ahead of a deadline set for July 14, a figure analysts yesterday welcomed as higher than expected.

Statistics released by the Thai Ministry of Labour on July 1 showed that a total of 454,449 workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, who faced deportation if they remained undocumented past the deadline, had registered since the process began on June 15.

Andy Hall of the Institute of Population and Social Research at Thailand’s Mahidol University said yesterday that figures he had received showed that around 110,000 Cambodians have registered, an encouraging figure.

“In the past we’ve seen that Cambodians made up about 5 to 10 percent of workers who registered, but this time they’re making up 20 percent, and I think that is very significant,” he said.

Estimates of the total number of undocumented migrants in Thailand vary widely, with the total number of Cambodian workers in the country pegged anywhere between 120,000 to 300,000 or more.

Maeve Galvin, a communications and advocacy officer for the International Labour Organisation in Cambodia, said yesterday that a likely reason for the high number of Cambodian registrations was sustained efforts by the outgoing Thai government to make all migrants documented. “If you register... you are in a much less vulnerable position, this message is coming across and this is encouraging,” she said.



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