News / Asia

    Thailand Urged to Extend Migrant Worker Deadline

    A Burmese migrant washes dishes outside her room at an apartment building housing Burmese migrant workers in Mahachai, an industrial area south of Bangkok, August 25, 2010.
    A Burmese migrant washes dishes outside her room at an apartment building housing Burmese migrant workers in Mahachai, an industrial area south of Bangkok, August 25, 2010.
    Daniel Schearf
    The head of the U.N. International Labor Organization, Guy Ryder, is expected to urge Thailand to extend a Friday deadline for migrant workers to become documented or face deportation. Bangkok is threatening to deport more than a million migrant workers, most from Burma, who do not finish a process called nationality verification, which activists say is flawed.  The United Nations agency opposes mass deportation.

    Ryder is set to meet for a second time Saturday with the Minister of Labor. His visit to Thailand coincides with a December 14 deadline for all foreign workers to become documented or face deportation.

    Thailand has about two and half million migrant laborers, mostly from Burma, but only half a million have completed the required process known as nationality verification or NV.  Thai labor authorities have extended previous deadlines but appear to be firm on this latest one.  

    Thai employers that depend on cheaper foreign labor worry if deportations proceed their business could be affected, said Nilim Baruah is the ILO's senior migrant specialist for the Asia Pacific. 

    "Mr. Ryder has assured the trade union heads when they met him today that he would raise the issue of review of migration policy, to have a consultative mechanism for reviewing the migration policy, and also take up the issue of extending the regularization process, particularly for those workers who have entered already into the NV process," he said.

    About 350,000 migrant workers who entered the nationality verification process have not yet received their documents. Nonetheless, Thai authorities are threatening to deport them as well.  

    Baruah says although countries have a right to deport illegal migrants, they should be in line with international standards of human rights, ensure all past wages are paid and carry out the deportation at no charge to the worker.

    "With regards to deportation, there should not be any mass, group deportation, that there should be a process of appeal should deportation take place," he said.

    Migrant workers are a backbone of Thailand's construction, factories, fishing, and orchards, but most are undocumented and their illegal status leaves them vulnerable to abuse. Thailand's nationality verification program has sought to better protect migrants by working with neighboring countries to issue temporary passports so they can apply for work permits.

    But the program is slow, expensive, and requires employer support.  Activists say while well-intentioned, it puts employers in a position to keep migrants undocumented and brokers in a position to charge them months of wages for helping them become legal.

    Baruah says the ILO would like to see Thai laws change to better protect migrant workers.

    "The Job Seekers and Recruitment Act should be revised to include regulation of recruitment for inbound workers.  Secondly, I think there should be effective complaint mechanisms."

    The ILO director general met Friday morning with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who thanked the U.N. agency for promoting decent work in Thailand.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: jethromayham
    December 15, 2012 6:22 PM
    The migrants should all register and the government has right to gather the information unless they want a fiasco like that created in the U.S. With an illegal population as high as 40 million, the US no longer has control over the illegals. Once can go down to a large city and purchase illegal documents to get the illegals a job.

    Once they worked for $8 on construction jobs but now they banded together to ask for $12. Unfortunately the majority have absolutely no skills.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora