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

    Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora