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Thailand registers nearly a million labour migrants

Food assistance is offloaded in Labutta where it is then transferred onto smaller boats deep inside Myanmar's cyclone-affected Ayerwadyy delta. More than 138,000 people were killed or left missing after Cyclone Nargis slammed into the country in May 2008.
(Contributor/IRIN)

The Thai government has helped legalize nearly one million previously undocumented labour migrants.



Cooperating with neighbouring Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar - where most migrant labourers come from - the government is working to register an estimated two million migrants. As of 12 May, 932,255 had received proper travel and work documents, according to the Department of Employment - including 812,984 from Myanmar, 62,792 from Laos and 56,479 from Cambodia.



“They come to our country and work in the service sector, agriculture, post-production, and they contribute to our economy. We have to treat them as equal to our own people,” Supat Gukun, who oversees labour affairs in the Ministry of Labour, told IRIN.



The migrants fill out forms verifying their identities, which are checked by their governments. They are then issued passports from their home countries, and visas and work permits from Thailand. Gukun said such documents would help migrants seek medical care, open bank accounts and even send money home to their families.



The International Organization for Migration says there are an estimated additional one million unregistered migrant labourers in Thailand.



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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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