The Labour Ministry yesterday said that Cambodian officials in Thailand have managed to distribute legal documentation to 420,000 undocumented migrant workers, leaving only about 10,000 left to receive legal paperwork before the June 30 deadline.
Labour Minister Ith Samheng was in Thailand yesterday to oversee the progress of legalising the workers and met with his Thai counterpart Adul Saengsiew Kaew.
Mr Samheng said that more than 300 Cambodian officials are working with migrant workers in more than 200 factories across Thailand to provide passports and other legal documents to them before the deadline.
He said that the campaign was launched following a crackdown on migrant workers by the Thai government last year.
Dy The Hoya, a project officer for labour rights group Central, said that he hopes that the campaign will be able to cover all undocumented migrant workers in Thailand.
“If all illegal workers were to receive legal documents in Thailand, then they could escape from problems such as labour exploitation and arrest,” Mr The Hoya said.
According to a report in the Vientiane Times yesterday, Mr Adul said that his ministry’s service centres have registered 169,517 migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar as of last Friday.
The report added that 66,803 migrant workers were required to undergo a nationality verification process conducted by each respective country. The report said that 54,000 were Cambodian, noting that 2,500 Cambodians undergo the process daily.
The report added that Thai government officials provided pink slips to foreign workers without legal documentation as a temporary measure. The slips gives migrants time to apply for necessary documents such as work permits and visas, as well as passports, following the verification process.
According to a Labour Ministry statement issued yesterday, 10,000 undocumented Cambodian migrant workers have until the end of June to receive the documents while they are in Thailand.
“Even if the campaign is finished at the end of the month, Thai authorities will allow them to return to Cambodia to obtain their papers,” the statement said. “The Thai government will allow them to return to Thailand if they can get their documents together.”
The statement added that there are about 650,000 Cambodian migrants working in Thailand.
Thai authorities deported more than 13,000 Cambodian migrant workers last year, according to a report from the National Police issued in February. All the deportees had overstayed their visas or crossed the border illegally. Some of them said they had been cheated by recruitment agents who promised them work in Thailand.