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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid