1. Home
  2. Asia
  3. Thailand

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.

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.


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

Share this article
Join the discussion

Hundreds of thousands of readers trust The New Humanitarian each month for quality journalism that contributes to more effective, accountable, and inclusive ways to improve the lives of people affected by crises.

Our award-winning stories inform policymakers and humanitarians, demand accountability and transparency from those meant to help people in need, and provide a platform for conversation and discussion with and among affected and marginalised people.

We’re able to continue doing this thanks to the support of our donors and readers like you who believe in the power of independent journalism. These contributions help keep our journalism free and accessible to all.

Show your support as we build the future of news media by becoming a member of The New Humanitarian. 

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.