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Thai authorities to help migrant workers renew expired permits

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times Share:
Chou Bun Eng leads a meeting over migrant workers. Koh Santepheap

Senior officials at the Interior Ministry yesterday said Thai authorities will review expired permits of 300,000 migrant workers.

Chou Bun Eng, a secretary of state and vice chairwoman of the National Committee for Anti-Human Trafficking, yesterday met with her Thai counterpart to address issues concerning migrant workers in Thailand.

“Thai authorities will renew the expired [pink cards] of about 300,000 migrant workers in Thailand,” Ms Bun Eng said.

She noted that some workers have crossed the border to work in Thailand without proper documents.

“For those who crossed the border illegally, they did so because they couldn’t find a proper job and sought risky methods to get work in Thailand,” Ms Bun Eng said.

She noted that prior to 2017, only 30 percent of one million migrant workers in Thailand were legal.

Thai authorities have requested cooperation from Cambodia to prevent illegal border crossings and human trafficking.

According to the National Committee for Counter Trafficking, there were about 1.8 million documented and undocumented migrant workers working overseas in the first six months of 2018, an increase of nearly 20,000 when compared to the same period the previous year.

The report said that 1,039,797 were documented workers, while 796,869 lacked legal documents. The migrants were working in Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour said that there are about 450,000 migrat workers with pink cards, and about 300,000 will renew their validity.

He said that migrant workers’ pink cards are valid for two years. He added that a memorandum of understanding agreement has allowed some pink cards of labourers to be valid for up to four years.

“We are working with the Thai government to consider extending migrant workers’ pink cards from two years to the four years as according to the MoU agreement,” he said.

Soum Chankea, coordinator with rights group Adhoc in Banteay Meanchey province, said migrant workers still cross the border illegally into Thailand and are not prevented by police.

“They always say they would prevent illegal border crossings, but that remains only as words,” Mr Chankea said.

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