The Thai ambassador to Cambodia met with one of the country’s Deputy Prime Ministers on Monday to discuss the legalisation of about 300,000 migrant workers in Thailand.
Thai Ambassador Panyarak Poolthup met with Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An at her office. Ms Sam An said that the Thai government will continue to assist Cambodian workers in getting their legal documents, permitting them to work in Thailand.
However, she added that Cambodia needs to cooperate with Thailand regarding women and children affairs, though she did not specify the details.
“I will find an appropriate time to visit Thailand to discuss women and children affairs,” Ms Sam An said. “Cambodia needs Thai expertise in protecting women and children.”
Mr Poolthup said that his government is preparing legal documents for migrant workers, noting that illegal migrant workers need not fear prosecution when applying for work permits.
“The registration process for workers to be legal is good and it will conclude at the end of June,” Mr Poolthup said. “They can then get benefits just like legal workers.”
According to the Labour Ministry, there are more than one million Cambodian workers in Thailand, including roughly 300,000 illegal workers.
Labour Minister Ith Samheng last month confirmed that about 320,000 Cambodian migrant workers have already registered to become legal workers, while 80,000 have yet to obtain their legal documents.
He said that more than 300 Cambodian officials were working with migrant workers at more than 200 factories across Thailand in order to get them legal documentation.
Last year, a campaign was launched by the Thai government to crackdown on illegal workers that led to a mass labour exodus. In response, Thai and Cambodian authorities are working together to provide legality to migrant workers in Thailand.
Sin Nam Yung, deputy director of Migrant Worker Coordinator in Poipet city, said that migrant workers are often deported from Thailand .
“There’s a lot of women sent back from Thailand and they brought along their children,” Ms Nam Yung said.
According to an Interior Ministry report, Thai authorities last year deported 73,275 migrant workers, among them 25,580 women, through the Poipet International Border Checkpoint.