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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Day labourers with no permits allowed in Thailand: officials

Day labourers with no permits allowed in Thailand: officials

Border officials say informal agreement allows Cambodians to cross border for work as long as they do not spend the night

 MIGRANT WAGES

A ccording to a report by the Association for Cambodian Recruitment Agencies, legal labourers in Thailand receive an average payment of between US$180 and $400 per month, while illegal migrants receive much less and risk being cheated by their employers.

THOUSANDS of Cambodians are entering Thailand illegally as day labourers as part of an informal agreement between Thai businesses and Thai local authorities that allows short-term work for Cambodians without proper permits, Cambodian officials told the Post.

"For a day labourer, they are promised by their employers and the authorities that they can work if they do not stay overnight," said Chea Sophat, head of the Phnom Dey border gate in Sampov Loun district of Battambang.

He said that about 400 villagers from his district work in Thailand during the day but return to Cambodia at night without being hassled by Thai border police, even though they have no work permits.

"They only work in Thailand during the day. Their workplace is close to the border, and Thai police do not allow them to stay long days," he said.

At the major checkpoints, said Sao Bunrith, the immigration police chief at the Poipet international border gate, Cambodian workers are still not being allowed through without permits, but at the smaller "corridor gates", more Cambodians are crossing back and forth on a daily basis.

Hem Bunny, the director of the Employee and Manpower Department, said that Cambodian workers are going to Thailand because, as a result of economic crisis, Thai employers are increasingly employing  illegal Cambodian migrants for lower wages than local workers.

Without proper work permits, Cambodians do not fall under the Thai Labour Law, which guarantees protections such as equal pay for Cambodians when compared with Thai workers.

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