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A thousand labourers deported from Thailand

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Cambodian workers at the Poipet border return from Thailand in 2014. Sreng Meng Srun

A thousand labourers deported from Thailand

Some 1,000 Cambodian workers who failed to meet the deadline to legalise their work documents in Thailand have been deported since July 1, said officials at the Poipet border at Banteay Meanchey province.

Provincial Labour Department director Ros Sarom said officials had issued legal documents to most Cambodians working in Thailand before July.

“The word undocumented or illegal worker does not exist anymore. For example, those who remain illegally are workers brought into Thailand by agents, if they are arrested each worker could face a fine of up to 800,000 riel and they will be deported.

“Undocumented workers will face stern action from the Thai government and Thailand has clearly announced that all Khmer and Vietnamese workers must be documented in order to work in the country. If undocumented workers are arrested, we cannot help them,” he said.

Pi Somnok, deputy human trafficking officer of the Anti-Human Trafficking Office of the provincial police, said the number of Cambodian returnees fluctuates – ranging from 20 workers to 100 workers a day.

“Migrant workers return home to obtain legal documents so they can go back to Thailand to work. There are cases where (Cambodian) workers are arrested by Thai officials and deported, and sometimes they (Cambodians) approach Thai officials to send them home,” said Somnok.

Last year, the Thai government issued an order to all migrant workers to obtain legal documents by June 30, so that they can work legally in the Kingdom. This was part of the government’s effort to weed out illegal workers.

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