Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Deadline for migrant workers to register in Thailand passes

Deadline for migrant workers to register in Thailand passes

Workers step out of a Thai truck packed with Cambodian migrants in Poipet in 2017 following the announcement of strict new migrant worker regulations.
Workers step out of a Thai truck packed with Cambodian migrants in Poipet in 2017 following the announcement of strict new migrant worker regulations. A deadline for migrants in Thailand to register themselves lapsed on Saturday. Sahiba Chawdhary

Deadline for migrant workers to register in Thailand passes

A deadline for undocumented migrant workers in Thailand to register for temporary permits passed on Saturday without a major exodus of workers to Cambodia, NGOs say, although observers were still unsure whether a crackdown on remaining workers is in the offing.

Barry Jessen, a senior manager at NGO Samaritan's Purse, which works on the Thai-Cambodian border, said he had noticed no uptick in workers crossing back into Cambodia.

According to Jessen, the vast majority of migrants who returned said they were travelling for Khmer New Year. "None of them were saying 'I'm coming home because of the pink card deadline,'" Jessen said. "So far it doesn't seem like there's been a massive crackdown."

Workers who registered for their temporary "pink cards" by the the March 31 deadline now have until June to finish the regularisation process.

Those that missed the deadline will have to come back to Cambodia and re-enter through a legal channel. It was unclear how many workers missed the deadline, although a report in the Bangkok Post put it at roughly 60,000.

Reuben Lim, a spokesman for International Organization for Migration in Thailand, said the body was unsure whether the Thai government would move to crack down on undocumented migrants still in the country.

Lim noted that April typically sees large amounts of cross-border movement between Cambodia and Thailand, with the Khmer New Year, or Songkran, festival celebrated in both countries.

Last year, Lim said, the number of migrants returning in April was higher than in July, when the Thai government announced its crackdown.

"While it would not be surprising to observe large movements in the coming days or weeks, it will be difficult to attribute this solely to the March 31 deadline as Cambodians may also be returning for the Songkran holidays," Lim said.

On Friday, the Ministry of Labour announced that it struck an agreement with the Thai government to allow Cambodian migrant workers to travel between the two countries from April 5 to April 30 without re-applying for visas, as long as they leave and return through the same border checkpoints.

Updates to follow

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the

  • Soaring global fuel prices: an opportunity for Cambodia?

    Cambodia is feeling the squeeze from the soaring global coal and oil prices. Electricity du Cambodge (EDC)would certainly be hurting from this reality, and most likely re-assessing its plans to add more coal power stations. EDC buys half of Cambodia’s electricity from plants

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when