Thai and Laotian authorities are still unable to finish verifying the nationality of all Laotian workers in Thailand as the former called for the last round of registration for migrant workers in Thailand by the end of July.
Thai Minister of Labor and Social Welfare Paitoon Kaewthong confirmed that all workers from Laos, Burma and Cambodia would have to apply and register for work licenses by July 31 otherwise they would face immediate deportation upon being arrested.
The Thai Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare estimates there are more than 2 million, both legal and illegal, workers in the country. The renewed registration will entitle the workers to adequate rights protection and welfare, and protect them from falling victim to international human trafficking rings in Thailand.
In compliance with bilateral agreements on employment development that Thailand has signed each with Laos, Burma and Cambodia since 2003, Thai officials would cooperate with their counterparts from each of these countries to identify and verify the nationality of their workers, and issue them passports.
So far, they managed to process the identification of 50,000 out of almost 80,000 registered Laotian workers in Thailand. Both countries agreed to continue identifying some remaining 20,000 workers as well as to fight against human trafficking.
Meanwhile, the Alien Workers Protection, a non-governmental organization in Thailand, estimated there are more than 4 million migrant workers from Laos, Burma and Cambodia in Thailand and only 700,000 have been registered. This leaves some 3 million workers vulnerable to exploitations by human trafficking rings in Thailand.
According to the NGO, there are more than 400,000 Laotian workers in Thailand and the number is expected to increase due to lower job supply and wage in Laos as compared to the higher cost of living. Lucrative compensation for smugglers is another factor contributing to this estimated rise as agents get 5,000 baht per head for smuggling Laotian workers into Thailand.
Songrit Pongern reported in Lao and summarized in English. Listen to Songrit's report for more details in Lao.