450,000 illegal Myanmar workers in Thailand meet registration deadline

About 450,000 Myanmar were among 772,270 illegal migrant workers in Thailand who registered with the authorities by an August 7 deadline, media reports said.

Undocumented workers from Myanmar accounted for 58 percent of the total, followed by those from Cambodia (28.86 percent) and Laos (12.67 percent), showed Labour Ministry figures reported by the Bangkok Post.

They were registered by 193,918 employers, of whom about 70 percent were individuals and the rest were companies, said a ministry official quoted by the newspaper.

Most of the workers were in the construction sector (181,772), followed by agriculture (170,854), food and beverages (70,384), services (58,914) and domestic service (51,512), the figures showed.

Bangkok accounted for most of the workers who registered between July 24 and August 7, with 152,903.

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The verification of the newly-registered migrant workers – the second step of a three-stage process – began on August 8 and involves interviews with employers and their employees. It is expected to take about a month.

The final step before work permits are issued is the verification of the workers’ nationality by officials from their homeland.

The Labour Ministry official said Myanmar would provide nationality verification services in Bangkok and seven provinces throughout the kingdom, the Bangkok Post reported.

Thailand’s military government announced harsh penalties for unregistered migrant workers and their employers under a decree issued on June 23.

Thousands of the estimated three million undocumented migrant workers in Thailand fled to their homelands after the announcement and the resulting labour shortages prompted a July 4 decision by the junta to delay enforcing the penalties for 180 days.

Early this month the Bangkok Post quoted Employment Department director-general Mr Waranon Pitiwan as saying that up to one million illegal migrants were expected to register by the August 7 deadline.

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