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Govt to help Thailand register legal migrants

CAMBODIA is cooperating with Thailand in its push to reform immigration policy and control the flow of migrant workers, Cambodian officials say.

Thailand has demanded that migrant workers register to renew their work permits by submitting to a process of nationality verification with their home governments. Those who do not register for this process by Tuesday will face deportation, Bangkok says.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong said last week that Cambodian officials had been dispatched to Thailand to help facilitate the nationality-verification process. He was unsure of what would happen to workers who do not meet the deadlines.

“Right now we don’t know what will happen, but we hope that Thai authorities treat them ... in an equal and friendly way, and we hope that Thai authorities will not deport legal Cambodian workers there,” Koy Kuong said.

Chhea Manith, director of Banteay Meanchey province’s Banteay Meanchey Termination Centre, which deals with Cambodians deported from Thailand, said that more than 16,000 migrants had been deported via the Poipet border checkpoint during the first six weeks of 2010, after 91,268 were returned in 2009.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JAMES O’TOOLE

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