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Migrant workers flee Thailand for reasons other than COVID-19


geovalin

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Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand have been advised by both the Thai and Cambodian governments to stay put, but that call has fallen on deaf ears for many. The centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights (CENTRAL) senior programme officer Dy Thehoya said financial difficulties and the fear of punishment for holding invalid or expired documents are the main reasons why Cambodian migrant workers are continuing to return home each day.

 

“Most of them return not because of COVID-19 but because they have no job, no money to survive and their legal documents will be invalid very soon,” he said. Thailand has previously announced that migrant workers, even illegal ones, can stay and work in Thailand for two years, although there are many stipulations.

 

Undocumented workers need to find an employer, and employers have to purchase two-year health insurance plans for their employees, among other requirements. Thehoya said some employers prefer to terminate their workers rather than adhere to the regulations.

 

read more https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50805137/migrant-workers-flee-thailand-for-reasons-other-than-covid-19/

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Maybe they are also leaving because they do not want to be razor wired into their housing area and treated like they are pariah's.  Has anyone thought about the atrocities of locking them all in one area while allowing the Thais to continue to move around.  Then one wonders if the numbers in Samut Sakhon would have not been fewer if they were not all crowded into one location with those who are infected/asymptomatic being in with those who were not....makes one wonder.

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Not all Cambodian workers live in crowded quarters (the Samut Sakhon workers are mostly Burmese not Cambodian). . Certainly in my province, where there are many Cambodian workers, there aren't these sorts of crowded dormitories.

 

But as one who employs Cambodian house staff I can tell you that the process for updating legal papers is unbelievably complicated and very, very hard to navigate. Huge amounts of red tape, takes many days of the employer's time to do, and even just getting information on what the procedures are and where to go etc is incredibly difficult. Not a single government hotline able to provide information on it.  I'm doing it, but it is very hard, expensive and time consuming so no surprise that most Thai employers can't or won't, leaving workers in illegal status with all the vulnerability that goes with that.

 

The recent change to mandate enrollment in the Migrant worker health scheme (it was always there as an option, just recently became mandatory) is good in principal but (1) too expensive for workers to pay for and employers are not being required to foot the bill (and many would not be willing, especially those with large numbers of workers )  (2) in typical government fashion the process for enrolling has been made very complicated with constant changes in the required  steps and forms such that one inevitably ends up having to run around multiple times between Labor dept and hospital and back again.

 

 

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