General Hun Manet has announced further expansions to the Cambodian effort to provide documents to all migrant workers in Thailand, writing on his Facebook page on Monday that the two countries had agreed to open five more Cambodian documentation offices in Thai provinces.
Manet, vice chairman of the Committee for Providing Legalisation to Cambodian Workers, said he met with Thai Minister of Labour Soriya Chay, resulting in a series of agreements. His post followed a statement from the Labour Ministry on Sunday, announcing expanded hours at the Cambodian Embassy in Thailand to deal with visas.
“Thailand has agreed to give the Committee legitimacy to provide passports and travel documents directly to the workers,” wrote Manet.
Moeun Tola, director of migrant rights NGO Central, said these changes were a “positive development”, but called on both governments to ensure the process is done effectively.
“The two governments need to communicate information to the people to make them feel comfortable exposing themselves,” he said, calling for a “guarantee” that they wouldn’t be deported.
Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour said the agreement only applies to workers who are already in Thailand and have pink cards. “Those [who] newly enter Thailand without proper documents are not subject to this agreement,” he said.
Meanwhile, 15 Cambodians were detained in Bangkok yesterday for illegally crossing the border, with border official Sim Nam Yong claiming at least 300 migrants have been deported in the past two weeks alone.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KHOUTH SOPHAK CHAKRYA