25 May 2020
Subject: An urgent recommendation to the government regarding the return of migrant workers from Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia via Border Checkpoints
Dear The Prime Minister
CC: Minister of Interior
With reference to official cable of the Ministry of Interior no. MT0230/W 2902 dated 21 May 2020
In pursuance to the 5/2020 meeting of the Operation Center on the Entry and Exit of the Country and the Oversight for Thai Nationals Living Abroad on 13 May 2020 which agreed to make a recommendation for the meeting of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on 15 May 2020, chaired by the Prime Minister. The CCSA meeting agreed to allow migrant workers from Myanmar to travel to the provinces at the Thailand-Myanmar border and to return to Myanmar. The process has begun since 22 May 2020.
Having worked in collaboration with various governmental authorities in Thailand to address the humanitarian need and remedy of the migrant workers, the Migrant Working Group (MWG) has found many of them have to live an extremely miserable life in Thailand while their workplaces have been temporarily shut down, or their working days reduced or their being laid off. As a result, many migrant workers have decided to return to their countries. According to our survey, all these migrant workers from Myanmar have been issued work permits and given visas stamps by the Thai government. Some of them whose work permits had expired have already filed the applications to renew their permits. Given their being temporarily out of work and their lack of income to make their ends meet, they have decided to return to their country. MWG is aware that the return to their country will certainly affect the registration and recruitment of migrant workers in Thailand. When the situation gets better, the entrepreneurs will certainly need such labor force back to help drive the economy forward.
Given the movement of workers, MWG urgently urges the government to invoke Section 17 of the Immigration Act 1979 with approval from the cabinet to allow the migrant workers to waive Re-Entry visa fees to help retain the privilege entitled to the migrant workers who decide to return to their country and will come back to work in Thailand when the situation gets better, By giving them a waiver of the Re-Entry visa fees, the government can also help the employers and the migrant workers by ensuring they can resume their work during the recovery period after the lift of lockdown in Thailand. It can also help to minimize problems that may stem from their working here illegally and helps to promote safe migration which can in turn help to combat trafficking in person
Thank you very much.
(Mr. Adisorn Kerdmongkhol)
Migrant Working Group’s Manager
For more information, please contact Mr. Adisorn Kerdmongkhol, Migrant Working Group’s Coordinator, phone 089 788 7138 or email [email protected]