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

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurdish Leader: Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 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.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid