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Home > Main Library > Migration > Migration from Burma > Migrant Workers from Burma > Policies towards Burmese migrant workers

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Policies towards Burmese migrant workers

Individual Documents

Title: Hard Labor
Date of publication: May 2008
Description/subject: Many Burmese invest hope and money to get work permits for Malaysia, only to find themselves exploited... "“I regret coming to Malaysia,” murmured Ko Shwe. “I feel afraid here. The only thing I want now is to go home.” A farmer from Sittwe in western Burma, Ko Shwe left his home last year after the protests against rising fuel prices sparked a national uprising. Faced with economic misery in Burma, Ko Shwe joined the thousands of Burmese—especially those from rural areas—migrating to foreign countries to earn a living. Just seven days after starting work at a factory in Kuala Lumpur, he lost his right hand while working with an electric lathe. Construction workers at a site in Kuala Lumpur. Typically, migrant workers face exploitation by employers and deportation by authorities. (Photo: AFP) Hiding his injury self-consciously, Ko Shwe spoke about his plan to return to Burma after he receives some compensation from his employer. However, as his work permit has not yet been approved, he is not confident of getting anything—not even reimbursement for his hospital bill. The ongoing economic decline in Burma has led to an outflow of laborers to neighboring countries. While Thailand has the most open market for illegal foreign labor, countries such as Malaysia provide an opportunity for workers with passports who can apply for legal employment..."
Author/creator: Violet Cho
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 16, No. 5
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 01 May 2008


Title: Burmese Migrant Workers in Thailand: Policy and Protection
Date of publication: December 2001
Description/subject: "It is estimated that the overall number of Burmese migrants in Thailand is somewhere in between 800,000 and one million. Cross-border migration into Thailand has steadily increased in recent years. Since the 1960s, hundreds of thousands of Thais have gone to work abroad. Refugees from Burma, Laos and Cambodia have since filled this labour shortage in Thailand. However, many of them are undocumented, illegal workers and thus constitute the most vulnerable section of the work force. As illegal non-citizens, they are least protected by a national legal system. The Thai Cabinet recently announced a new policy on migrant workers..."
Author/creator: Darunee Paisanpanichkul
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Legal Issues on Burma Journal" No. 10 (Burma Lawyers' Council)
Alternate URLs: The original (and authoritative) version of this article may be found in http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/Legal_Issues_on%20Burma_Journal_10.pdf
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Labor Pains
Date of publication: September 2001
Description/subject: "The Thai government's latest resolution to control the growing migrant worker population lacks resolve. The Thai government is promising a "total solution" to the country's migrant worker population. But if history is any guide, the new resolution looks just like the latest rendition of previously flawed policies. For years Burmese migrants have fueled border industries with cheap labor, but with a recession looming the Thai government is once again trying to tackle a problem that has caused previous administrations to stumble. Thai Labor Minister Dej Bunlong has said this latest registration scheme would benefit employers and workers both. Bunlong said employers would no longer have to pay kickbacks to keep their workers from being arrested and the workers would in turn benefit from both their legal standing and from the health care coverage they would be entitled to under the new resolution. This is the first time the government has offered to issue an unlimited number of work permits. Any worker who is at least eighteen years old and who is living in Thailand before September 24th is eligible for a permit if they apply before the October 13th deadline..."
Author/creator: Tony Broadmoor
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol 9. No. 7, August-September 2001
Format/size: pdf (89K) ; html
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20020628190739/www.irrawaddy.org/database/2001/vol9.7/labor.html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003