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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Deal struck for migrant workers

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An immigration official processes documents for a migrant worker at the Thai-Cambodian border in Banteay Meanchey province last year. Hong Menea

Deal struck for migrant workers

Thailand has agreed to relax enforcement against expired documents held by migrant Cambodians, which become invalid when they switch jobs without their previous employer’s written consent.

The agreement was reached on Monday during a meeting between Cambodia’s ambassador to Thailand, You Ay, and Thailand’s director general of the Department of Employment, Sumet Mahosot.

According to a statement released yesterday by Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign affairs, workers are generally motivated to find new jobs when their current employment dries up, but bosses are not always willing to sign off on them leaving.

“[The meeting] aimed to help Cambodian workers who work in Thailand to avoid arrest or mistreatment,” the statement said.

The meeting also saw Ay lobby on behalf of 117 Cambodian workers employed by Thai company Sun Fuji Co Ltd, who have been without paid work for more than two weeks due to the company’s financial constraints. The statement said Mahosot had agreed the company should provide free food and accommodation until the situation is resolved.

Ay and Mahosot also discussed the need for Thailand to provide work permits to almost 92,000 Cambodian workers who currently possess valid passports, as well as improved collaboration between the two countries to guarantee Cambodian migrants receive necessary documents.

Thailand is currently engaged in a drive to force migrants to acquire valid documentation or face deportation. In July, during an official visit by Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, the Thai government extended an expired deadline for foreign workers to receive their papers to March 2016.



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