Workers to get Thai legal permits
In coordination with Thai officials, Cambodia’s Labor Ministry has set up a new process to help migrant workers in Thailand receive passports, travel cards or Overseas Cambodian Worker Cards (OCWC).
For many Cambodians it will end a gray area in which they have been issued with what are known as pink cards by the Thais. These give them migrant worker status, but are not enough to allow the workers to get a job. The problem arose after Thailand’s military seized power in 2014 and expelled large numbers of foreign workers.
Many Cambodians subsequently crossed back into Thailand illegally. Thai authorities created the pink cards as a way of normalizing their presence, however the workers were left in employment limbo.
Cambodian and Thai government officials met to resolve the problem and a Cambodian government committee was set up to legalize the 231,626 undocumented Cambodian workers.
Labor Minister Ith Samheng, chairman of the committee, said that starting today, workers can come to their offices and apply for a variety of licenses and legal documents. The committee decided to add an extra day to the service, so workers will have at least six days a week to come to the office. Registration efforts will end on April 30.
“The committee gives legitimacy to Cambodian workers who are staying and working in Thailand. We have decided to add one more day for their working days. Before, they only worked for five days per week. But starting on February 6, they will work six days per week,” Mr. Samheng said of the registration office.
He went on to add that workers can come during the weekend to apply for and receive legal documents from the committee. They also added an extra hour to their working days so migrant workers can come at any point between 8:30am and 6:30pm.
Workers only need to bring a copy of their pink card and an application provided by the committee officials, which can be found at any Cambodian consular office in Thailand or online at cambodianworkers.net.
Workers will need to pay about $27 for travel documents. For work permits, migrant workers need to take $14 and their pink cards to the Thai Immigration Department.
Labor Ministry spokesman Heng Sour told Khmer Times last week that the undocumented workers were among one million Cambodians working in Thailand.
He confirmed that the undocumented workers received migrant worker status cards from Thai authorities after they crossed illegally into Thailand to seek employment.
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