Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry in migrant push

Ministry in migrant push

Migrant workers wait to be processed at a registration centre in Chiang Mai, Thailand last month.
Migrant workers wait to be processed at a registration centre in Chiang Mai, Thailand last month. HRDF Thailand

Ministry in migrant push

The Cambodian Labour Ministry is stepping up its efforts to legalise undocumented migrants in Thailand, and is considering using a similar model in Malaysia.

The government aims to legalise about 160,000 Cambodians in Thailand in response to a new law passed that imposes strict punishments on undocumented migrant workers and their employers.

“A committee sent four mobile working groups to about 200 factories,” Labour Minister Ith Sam Heng said, adding that fees were about $30 for registration and about $70 for passports.

Yet, according to a Thai database, almost 7,700 undocumented Cambodians will have to return to the Kingdom, having failed interviews to become documented after registering with the Employment Department.

While yesterday was the last official day for interviews, thousands of Cambodian, Myanmar and Lao nationals still had not been interviewed as of yesterday evening. However, an Employment Department official, speaking anonymously as he was not allowed to speak to the press, said the government “unofficially” expected the screening to continue until mid-September.

Sam Heng, meanwhile, said yesterday that the process could serve as an example. “If the legalisation campaign for migrant workers is successful in Thailand, the Cambodian Government is thinking to process the legalisation of Cambodian migrant workers in Malaysia as well,” he said.

But Dy The Hoya, of labour rights group Central, remained sceptical. “Some workers didn’t get any information,” he said, adding that some often paid about $120 to $150 for someone to help them with the complicated application process.

Adrian Pereira, a coordinator for North-South Initiative in Malaysia, said undertaking a similar programme would prove difficult in Malaysia, as migrant workers who entered the country undocumented by law could not become legalised under current rules.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry issues warning over coronavirus outbreak

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday asked the public to be on “high alert” as a new virus wreaks havoc across Asia. However, no cases have been reported in the Kingdom thus far. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has raised the alarm for its similarity to

  • First case of coronavirus reported in the Kingdom

    Cambodia reported its first case of the deadly 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) on Monday, Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng announced. He said medical specialists detected the virus in a Chinese tourist in Sihanoukville. The minister said Jia Jianhua, 60, travelled from Wuhan city, where the outbreak

  • PM urges precaution amid virus outbreak

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday called on all Cambodians to bump up precautions to avoid contracting the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that has already killed more than 50 people in China. The prime minister told the public to remain calm but alert about the possibility of

  • Gov’t slams NGO over 2019 corruption report

    The government on Thursday slammed a report that described the Kingdom as highly corrupt. Government spokesperson Phay Siphan dismissed the latest Transparency International (TI) report as “just an advertisement of NGOs to promote their own interests”. Released on Thursday, the report puts Cambodia near the

  • Gov’t answers garment buyers’ complaint

    Some of the biggest buyers in the Kingdom’s garment sector have urged Prime Minister Hun Sen to address issues faced by unions and workers – a request a senior official said was out of touch with the situation on the ground. The letter addressed to

  • App to connect farmers to millions

    The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has soft-launched a mobile app that connects farmers with potential buyers and gives them access to critical market information. The ministry’s Agriculture Marketing Office chief Meach Yady said the ‘CamAgriMarket’ app gives farmers a platform to showcase