Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Current Situation of Migrant Workers and Migra

Samut Sakhon province is among the biggest seafood processing industrial areas in Thailand. Its fishing and fisheries-related industries constitute approximately 90% of the agriculture sector economy. Samut Sakhon also houses the biggest fish and shrimp markets in the country where tons of seafood cold storage along with farm products from the Eastern, Southern and Central Regions are unloaded and traded everyday. As a result of this growth, the GDP of the province is ranked among the top five provinces in Thailand every year. Population wise, it is among the top four coastal provinces in Thailand in attracting migrant workers, both Thai and non-Thai, to substitute for local labour in the fishing sector. This combined migrant population is equal to the number of local natives of Samut Sakhon, which has a permanent population of approximately 450,000.

Based on the registration of migrants in 2004, there were 103,426 migrants registered in Samut Sakhon, among whom 2,800 are children under 15 years of age. The 15-18 age group is lumped into the adult group and unfortunately no separate statistics for this group is available. In the 15-59 age group, 77,409 workers applied for work permits. Further, there are an unknown number of migrant workers who did not register in 2004 but the local authorities estimates that there were no fewer than 200,000 foreign migrants residing in the province in 2004.

In May 2005, the government granted all registered migrants the opportunity to renew their work permits. The renewal will, among others, give them the right to residency. The migrant workers who did not have their own employers and work permits arranged after August 30, 2005, will not be allowed to extend their stay in Thailand.

The Provincial Committee on Irregular Migrant Workers Administration has regular meetings to discuss and monitor the situation of migrants in the province. At the 12 July 2005 meeting, the Committee reported that 5,875 employers have requested a quota for hiring 182,910 migrant workers; 168,904 Burmese, 11,642 Laotian and 2,364 Cambodian migrants.[1]

Based on the available information, it can be concluded that during July-August 2005 migrant workers were changing jobs and employers, with most of them looking for better employment. Amid these changes, new groups of migrant job seekers without either work permits or registration cards filled some of these abandoned jobs. In addition, some of the newcomers resorted to illegal forgery services to get fake registration IDs, which will not enable them to get work permits as all registration and permit issuances are computerized. As long as they remain on an irregular status, they are vulnerable to arrest and exploitation.

Despite official announcements and notifications concerning the hiring of migrant workers, employers cannot find substitute workers in some particular sectors especially for ocean-fishing work[2] because many workers who were formerly employed in the fishing industry have found other work ashore.

Several migrant workers changed their employers and places of employment. They not only changed jobs within the same geographical area, but also moved to find jobs in nearby provinces. Some new workers have moved from Mae Sod, Tak Province; and Ra Nong Province into Samut Sakhon as well.

It was estimated that by the end of the new round of registration in 2005, there will be approximately 95 percent (or more) of the number of registered migrant labourers as compared to the previous year।

မွတ္ခ်က္။ ။ ( LPN (Labour Rights Promotion Network )မွ ကူးယူေဖာ္ျပသည္။ အေၾကာင္းမွာ ေရြ႕ေျပာင္းအလုပ္သမားမ်ားႏွင့္ ပတ္သက္ေသာ သတင္းအခ်က္လက္စုစည္းသူမ်ားအလြယ္တကူ ေလ့လာႏိုင္ရန္ရည္ရြယ္၍ေဖာ္ျပျခင္းျဖစ္သည္။) ပိုမိုသိလိုက သို႕ mail ပို႕၍ ေမးျမန္ႏိုင္ပါသည္။