More than 20,000 migrant workers have passed through Battambang province’s Daung international border crossing this month to return home for Khmer New Year, while Poipet border officials say workers have yet to return through their checkpoint in large numbers.
Banteay Meanchey provincial Department of Labour director Ros Sarom told The Post on Monday that according to reports from Poipet international checkpoint authorities, migrant workers are likely to flock back from Thailand on Friday and Saturday.
He said the officials reported that this month, only one to two buses per day had crossed the border at Poipet.
“For the last several days, migrant workers have not been regularly crossing back into Cambodia. It is not a steady stream of people. Some days there was one bus with 40 people and some days two buses came through carrying seven, eight or 10 people."
“Today is only the 8th and, according to the labour law, we haven’t yet reached the day when workers are allowed to have holidays,” Sarom said.
Poipet international checkpoint police’s chief of general staff Sem Makara said he did not have a figure at hand of the number of migrant workers who had returned home.
Sarom said that nowadays, Cambodian people travelling to and from Thailand use two types of passports.
Business people who live near the Thai border use a passport recognised only at the provincial level, he said. They leave in the morning and return in the evening or sometimes enter and leave once a week.
Migrant workers travelling to work at factories and other enterprises have a passport and a work permit, Sarom said.
Immigration police at Daung international checkpoint, in Battambang province’s Kamrieng district, told a local news outlet that in the week from the morning of April 1 through to Sunday evening, 25,475 migrant workers had crossed the border into Cambodia.
They said that most of the workers were villagers from Battambang province, while some hailed from Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Thom, Prey Veng, Pursat and Svay Rieng provinces.
A small number of people were illegal migrant workers, the immigration police said.
“They come back home for the New Year holiday. After they get paid, they are allowed to come back home,” Battambang police chief Uch Sokhon said.
A Ministry of Labour report said that in 2018, some 1,070,000 migrant workers received legal documents to work in factories, on construction sites, as fishermen or in the agricultural sector in Thailand.