Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thailand mulls new migrant registration



Thailand mulls new migrant registration

Thailand mulls new migrant registration

THE Thai government is considering reopening a registration process for migrant labourers that could allow tens of thousands of Cambodian workers currently at risk of deportation to remain in Thailand legally, officials said yesterday.

Thai government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said yesterday that because of the “backlog” of workers who missed the deadline for the registration process, Thailand’s ministry of labour was considering reopening it.

“The ministry is working on that, but the cabinet has not yet received a formal proposal on the issue,” Panitan said.

The Thai government set a February deadline for migrant workers to apply for a process known as “nationality verification” that would allow them to renew their work permits. Though 124,902 legal Cambodian migrant workers were eligible to participate in this registration process, just 81,601 took part, according to figures provided by Bangkok-based rights group the Human Rights and Development Foundation.

As a consequence, 43,301 Cambodian migrants who were legally registered prior to the deadline faced the possibility of deportation, as did the untold thousands of Cambodian workers who entered Thailand illegally.

More than 1,000 Cambodian workers who missed the registration deadline had been arrested and detained by the end of June, after Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva authorised a crackdown in a June 2 directive.

Last week, Thai Minister of Labour Chalermchai Sri-on said the government was preparing to reopen the registration process because of a labour shortage, Thai state media reported.

Othsman Hassan, secretary of state at the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, said he had travelled to Thailand earlier this week to confer with Thai labour ministry officials on the process of registering Cambodian workers.

“So far, over 80,000 Cambodian workers have already registered, and we estimate that there are still over 90,000 Cambodian workers who have not yet registered” he said.

Othsman Hassan said Thai officials had requested that the Cambodian government assist in registering more Cambodian workers.

“Due to Thailand’s increasing development, they are open to having more Cambodian workers,” he said.

Critics of Thailand’s registration policy said it was instituted unnecessarily swiftly and left no recourse for migrant workers who had entered the country illegally.

“It is addressing regular migrants and leaves out the irregular migrants, and that is something that represents a threat of massive expulsions, with the obvious consequences of violations of human rights. That’s a great concern to me,” Jorge Bustamente, the UN’s special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, said in an interview with Radio Australia in February.

As Thai labour officials move forward with their review of migrant policy, they must develop a framework that is “in unison with the genuine situation on the ground”, said Andy Hall, director of the HRDF’s Migrant Justice Programme.

In a statement released yesterday, a group of 13 civil society organisations based in Thailand called for Thai authorities to raise awareness among migrant workers about the registration process and allow children and other dependants of workers to be registered as well.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen says Kingdom not a 'satellite country'

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia had sent diplomatic notes to various embassies demonstrating its stance and clarifying allegations that the Kingdom is a satellite country of China which will allow it exclusive access to the Ream Naval Base in Preah Sihanouk province. The response

  • Vast Prince Manor fun park opens to much fanfare in Kandal

    Chinese-owned Prince Culture and Development Co Ltd officially launched the $85 million Prince Manor entertainment centre in Kandal province on Wednesday. Prince Manor is located along National Road 1, 20km from the centre of Phnom Penh. It is the first major theme park project in Cambodia and

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial