Myanmar and Thailand have to formulate a clear policy to determine the status of Myanmar migrant workers in Thailand, Thailand-based Migrant Workers’ Rights Network (MWRN) said.
The current policy and regulation are impractical for both the migrant workers who wish to send money to their families, and also Thai employers who do not want to part ways with their workers, MWRN said in a statement.
According to the recent agreement between the two governments, Myanmar migrant workers must return to Myanmar after their four-year visa expires and have to reside in Myanmar for three years before they can return to Thailand.
Myanmar economy and job market is not yet ready to provide suitable employment opportunities to the migrant workers at the moment, MWRN said.
The joint statement of MWRN and the Human Rights and Development Foundation called on both the governments to release concrete policies for the migrant workers and publicise the information for immigration officials, employers and migrant workers.
MWRN said the workers may face exploitation and become victims of human trafficking when their status changes from legal workers to illegal immigrants in Thailand.
Some unscrupulous visa brokers are demanding up to $500 from the migrant workers for forging passports and visas, MWRN said.
There are over 3 million migrant workers working in Thailand and 80 percent of them are from Myanmar.
About 1.7 million Myanmar migrant workers have temporary passports and migrant worker residential permit. However, only 750,000 workers have work permits from the Thai Labour Ministry.