The Ministry of Interior is working to address the legitimacy of migrant Cambodian workers in Thailand, while the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and its partner organisations offered an orientation workshop to workers who are considering working in the neighbouring country.

Sak Setha, permanent secretary of state at the interior ministry, chaired a meeting to discuss ways and means to address the legitimacy of migrant workers in Thailand whose documents have expired or are due to soon, according to a May 16 statement by the ministry.

“All relevant institutions must expand cooperation with their Thai counterparts to manage the situation. The two countries have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to do so,” he said.

Setha requested that the National Committee for Counter Trafficking (NCCT) continue to work with Thai authorities to provide undocumented workers with the necessary paperwork so they can legally work there.

Chou Bun Eng, ministry secretary of state and permanent vice-chair of the NCCT, said Cambodia has established two Migrant Workers Resource Centres in Banteay Meanchey province. The centres received information track data of passing workers, notably those who had been deported from Thailand.

“We considered this work to be part of our strategy to combat human trafficking, especially of migrant workers,” she added.

The labour ministry, in collaboration with the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), held a workshop on the results of a recent study of migration to Thailand, and offered orientation for workers before their depart.

Executive director of the Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights (CENTRAL) Moeun Tola told The Post on May 17 that regardless of the study, some workers were still migrating to Thailand without legal documents.

Citing workers’ account, he said the process of obtaining documents was complicated and expensive.

“If the ministries have discussed speeding up the process to reduce its complexities with the Thai side, it would be of great help to workers. They need this legitimacy to reduce the risk of being exploited,” he added.

Tola said that civil society organisations and trade unions in Thailand had estimated that over two million Cambodian workers are in Thailand, over 40 per cent of them undocumented.