About 340,000 Cambodian migrant labourers living in Thailand are still awaiting documents to work in the country legally and have been granted another grace period until June following a meeting between the countries’ labour ministers on Tuesday.
Labour Minister Ith Samheng led a delegation to Thailand on Tuesday and met with his Thai counterpart Adul Sangsingkeo to discuss Cambodian migrant workers.
“Officials from both countries agreed to continue the process of providing legal documents for Cambodian workers in Thailand until June,” said Mr Samheng. “Right now there are about 340,000 workers that do not have legal documents yet.”
The two countries began collaborating to issue documents to labourers working in the country illegally after Thai authorities launched a crackdown on them last year, leading to an exodus of thousands of workers.
Thailand has provided three locations for mobile working groups to issue legal documents to workers, while the working group has issued papers to about 1,700 workers per day.
“We also agreed to prepare more mobile working groups and centres in order to increase the speed of issuing documents to Cambodian workers, up to 4,000 workers per day,” Mr Samheng added.
Mr Samheng added that he would again visit Thailand next month to check in and ensure the process has been sped up.
Late month, Mr Samheng also visited Cambodian workers in Thailand and urged them to obey local laws and register with employers and authorities to gain access to legal papers.
“So everyone should keep working calmly, and workers who do not have legal documents should apply for them as soon as possible.” he said at the time.
According to the annual report of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, at least 1,000 Cambodian workers were deported each week from Thailand via the Poipet International Border Checkpoint in Banteay Meanchey province last year.