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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Passport complaint pays

Cambodian workers at the Poipet border return from Thailand in 2014.
Cambodian workers at the Poipet border return from Thailand in 2014. Vireak Mai

Passport complaint pays

Cambodia's Ministry of Labour is preparing passports for 500 Thailand-based workers who last week complained they had still not received documents they allegedly paid for more than two years ago, the ministry said on Tuesday.

The 500 migrants had sent a letter of complaint to a Thai police chief claiming they still did not have their legal documentation despite paying the necessary fees in 2014.

Ministry of Labour representatives originally said the workers had outstanding fees to pay in order to receive the documents, something workers denied. In a statement released on Tuesday, the ministry said that, fearing unscrupulous brokers had cheated the workers, they were now granting them their passports.

Cambodian migrant worker Bun Hour welcomed the news yesterday, saying it would help workers who are routinely arrested by Thai authorities for their lack of documentation.

In the ministry’s statement, spokesman Heng Sour said they are currently in the process of preparing 231,626 passports for Cambodian workers in Thailand. But he warned that workers should pay no more than $27 to the ministry and about $14 to Thai immigration officials. The statement asked workers to contact the ministry if they encounter brokers who ask migrants to pay more.

According to a 2016 Banteay Meanchey police report, Thai officials repatriated 49,987 Cambodians via the Poipet border crossing last year. Poipet police chief Sin Namyong said yesterday that Thailand is deporting workers back to Cambodia “almost every day” for lack of adequate documentation.

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