Long queues: Thailand urges Myanmar to send more officials for migrant worker checks

Thailand is concerned that Myanmar has not sent enough officials to the kingdom to verify the nationality of migrant workers, the final step in formalising their status under new rules introduced in June, a newspaper reported.

Thailand’s Department of Employment said Myanmar had promised to send more officials to speed up the process amid reports of long queues at nationality verification centres, the Bangkok Post said on September 28.

It quoted the department’s director-general, Mr Waranon Pitiwan, as saying the Labour Minister, Mr Sirichai Distakul, was concerned about the delay in processing the workers.

Waranon said the issue had been raised with the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok and it had promised to do more to help with issuing the certificates of identity.

He said the Myanmar authorities had promised to increase staff at verification centres at Ranong, Samut Sakhon and Samut Prakan, which have large numbers of migrant workers, so they can issue up to 1,400 certificates of identity a day, the newspaper reported.

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It said an average of 1,000 people were waiting at any given time each day to receive the certificates at verification centres in other cities.

Under a decree issued by the Thai junta on June 23, undocumented migrant workers were required to register with the authorities by August 7, and then be interviewed with their employer to verify their jobs.

The issuing of certificates of identity after a worker’s nationality is verified by officials from their homeland is the final step of the process before work permits are issued.

Waranon said workers are charged 560 baht (about K22,800), of which 450 baht is for the work permit, 100 baht is for processing the application and 10 baht is a service fee.

He said they must also pay 500 baht for their Thai visa, 500 baht for a medical check and 500 baht for health insurance.

A total of 26,839 Myanmar workers had been issued with work permits at the centres between September 15 and September 25, the report said.

Myanmar had comprised about 450,000 of the 772,270 undocumented migrant workers in Thailand who registered with the authorities by August 7.

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