Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry campaign to ease documentation

Ministry campaign to ease documentation

Labour Minister Ith Sam Heng, seen speaking at an event earlier this year, met with the Thai labour minister in Bangkok regarding migrant worker deportations.
Labour Minister Ith Sam Heng, seen speaking at an event earlier this year, met with the Thai labour minister in Bangkok regarding migrant worker deportations. Photo supplied

Ministry campaign to ease documentation

The Ministry of Labour yesterday launched a 100-day campaign to legalise undocumented migrant workers who could face fines and imprisonment in Thailand when a harsh new immigration law goes into effect, according to Minister of Labour Ith Sam Heng.

After a meeting with the Thai Labour Ministry in Bangkok, Sam Heng said the Thai government will open almost 90 centres in Thailand to issue temporary identity cards valid for six months.

He said the centres would issue the identity cards for 15 days between July 24 and August 7. Ten centres will be based in Bangkok, and one in each of the 76 Thai provinces.

He also announced that the Cambodian Embassy in Bangkok, which normally does not provide passport services, will issue passports for the upcoming six months before harsh punishments for illegal migrants and for employers go into effect at the end of the year.

He said a normal passport would cost about $28, while it would cost about $75 for an expedited passport obtained within a day. Within 100 days, the Cambodian government will try to legalise 160,000 undocumented migrants, he said.

Ith Samheng said there are 1,050,000 Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand, of whom 300,000 are undocumented. He said that 40,000 Cambodians worked in the fishery sector.

“The Ministry of Labour of Thailand just brought this new law to the National Assembly, and they delayed the enforcement of this law until January 1, 2018,” he said. “They told me that the Thai government has no intention to deport Cambodian migrant workers.”

Still, Poipet border police officer Sin Namyong said that more than 500 workers returned from Thailand yesterday and 772 did so on Wednesday. This brings the total number of returnees to at least 6,300 since returns first spiked on June 28.

The Thai law imposes imprisonment and fines of up to $3,000 on undocumented workers, and hefty fines on employers. After a backlash from stakeholders, the Thai government backtracked temporarily and suspended the implementation of fines until December 31.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release outlining its efforts to “find a solution to the recent chaotic situation affecting the Cambodian workers in Thailand”.

“The Ministry wishes to make known that the top leader of the Royal Government of Cambodia is intervening with the Thai government in order to find a suitable solution to this situation.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman