The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand has warned migrant workers that Thai authorities will begin punishing them in April if they fail to renew their work permits.
Holders of temporary documents would need to get them extended by March 31.
“Beyond this ultimatum, Thai authorities will take strict measures on all the foreign workers who don’t have permission to live and work in Thailand,” Monday’s announcement reads.
Chhiv Chhantak, second secretary at the Cambodian Embassy in Bangkok, urged Cambodian workers to apply for the relevant documents at official offices“If a foreign worker is late filling out the renewing form as stated by Thai authority, the authorities will take tough measure,” he said.
According to Chhantak, pink cards given to undocumented workers and letters from an employer had to be renewed every two years, but workers would need additional travel documents before returning legally to Cambodia. Migrant workers would have until June 30 to receive those travel documents, he said.
Khun Tharo, senior program officer at labour rights organisation Solidarity Center, said yesterday the use of pink cards should be abandoned completely, as they are only a temporary solution.
“This document causes complications and loss of money for the workers,” he said.
According to Tharo, about 1.5 million Cambodians live in Thailand, with around one-third undocumented.
Earlier in March, the Thai cabinet approved a legal amendment that would significantly reduce punishments for irregular migrants, scrapping all prison sentences for undocumented migrant workers.
If the draft amendment is implemented, the government would reduce fines against employers for hiring undocumented workers from as much as $25,493 per irregular worker to between $319 and $3,190 per worker.