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Vongthep: On Thailand-Myanmar migration issues

Myanmar Times, 13 March 2017 - Myanmar and Thailand signed a bilateral MOU to govern the labour migration between the two, especially from Myanmar to Thailand. The MOU provides a framework to facilitate regular labour migration by focusing more on admission procedures, prevention of irregular migration and employment, and repatriation of migrant workers, among others. Issues of labour market demands and social protection and rights at work of migrant workers are not comprehensively covered.

 

The MOU gives mandate for the authorised agencies of both countries to work together for the establishment of procedures to integrate illegal workers who are in the country of the other party prior to the entry into force of the MOU. This paved the way for the regularization of undocumented migrant workers in Thailand. The MOU also gives extensive role of the government in recruitment. It is expected that implementation of the MOU could address the lengthy procedure for recruitment and placement.

Beyond the procedures for enabling regular migration, there are concerns about extent to which the other objectives of the MOU are being effectively met. The implementation of MOU in term of protection of rights and repatriation have proven challenging. Vulnerability of migrant workers to abuse, high recruitment fees, and non-contribution to social security coverage should be addressed in effective manner. Additional challenges lie in the inconsistencies or differences between the law of each Party and in data collection to inform the policy or decision making.

The challenges have direct impact on the continuation of irregular migrant workers due to the continuing demands. Effectiveness of the MOU in curbing the number of undocumented migrant workers would need to be monitored and evaluated over time.

Source: http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/opinion/25284-vongthep-on-thailand-myanmar-migration-issues.html

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