Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New system puts Thai day-trippers on notice

New system puts Thai day-trippers on notice

New system puts Thai day-trippers on notice

Amid a mounting series of labour registration reforms that has left many workers at a loss as to the route to legal employment in Thailand, authorities there have quietly slipped in another new regulation that could impact thousands of Cambodians crossing the border each day for work.

The latest reform would grant day labourers employed in specified areas along the border a special work permit without first having to obtain a passport, Thailand’s permanent secretary for labour, Jirasak Sukhonthachat, said yesterday.

Under the previous system, thousands of merchants, vendors and farm workers traversed the border each day on weeklong “border passes”. But Thai officials claim the long-used informal system is illegal: the border passes permit visiting and shopping, but do not provide legal working rights.

Some vendors at the Rong Kluea market opposite Poipet’s border checkpoint said they are already familiar with the new process, which involves obtaining a card issued by Thai authorities for 22,000 riel ($5.50).

“Our card is valid for six months for use to and from Rung Kluea market only,” said Noun Nikida, a carter, who added that the cards started appearing in the past month or two. “If we don’t have it, we will be regarded as illegal.”

Thailand has sought to overhaul its migrant labour policies since the junta took power in May. Among those reforms, Thailand announced last month that it had signed agreements with its neighbours introducing temporary passes for special economic zones along the border. A timeline for the system taking effect was not revealed.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong could not be reached for comment on the new system, which labour monitors say requires clarity for the sake of the workers.

“It seems that the Thai government is trying to make legal a process that is actually already happening,” said Sara Piazzano, country director of the USAID-funded Counter Trafficking in Persons CTIP II Program. “It is important to keep migrants well informed and able to easily access [the] system in order to reduce the dependency on [brokers/]middle men.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY THE BANGKOK POST

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