Monday, 11 July 2016

On the regulation and repression/extortion of migrants in Thailand

"The migrant workers said these stickers allow them to sell stuff on the street without fear of official intervention as bribes have been paid but so far the identity of the person or persons who issued them is unknown."
"Bangkok police chief vows to punish five station heads if graft stickers surface in their responsible areas," Pattaya Mail, 31 May 2016
"IN A BID to counter the problem of illegal migrants, foreign workers without permits face the prospect of mass arrests and large fines... According to Arak, the committee agreed to have a subcommittee study six resolutions:... guidelines to track registered workers' homes and jobs; a new version of work permits that shows jobs and areas of residence; ... The director-general said to crack down on illegal labour, the ministry needs to take aggressive action. Workers without work permits will be jailed and made to pay a large fine. He said the ministry had tried to intensify punishment of employers who hire illegal labourers as well... Currently, there are 39 "skilled" jobs such as cooks, hairdressers, sellers and service sector work that Cambodian, Myanmar and Lao workers cannot do, Arak said. But many illegal workers do these jobs... in response to scandals over illegal workers bribing police to work without papers, police were responsible for the issue and the ministry would not interfere. The ministry could only ask for police and concerned parties to cooperate and crack down on non-registered workers."
"Illegal workers face major crackdown," The Nation, 14 June 2016
"In many cases when workers or employers cannot personally apply for a permit, they hire brokers to secure the necessary documents. But Aung's employer said that could cost as much as Bt10,000 per employee... And even though Aung and his five fellow waiters have no legal work status, their employer has provided a degree of protection by bribing police and other officials. "Currently there are eight police and other authority offices that take bribes from me," he said. "Each one takes at least Bt500 per month per head, making me pay about Bt20,000 in total. And I have no choice but to pay." Millions of migrants from Myanmar work... in an even more complex situation if they work as vendors.... Mu said three different groups of police have told her to pay bribes of Bt3,000 per month after an initial "fine" of Bt25,000 in exchange for "job security". "Dreams of a migrant worker to have a good life here is far from the truth," she said. Mu earns about Bt300 a day from the stall. She has to pay the police bribes, rent for her stall and support her two schoolchildren. That prevents her from saving anything or sending funds back to her family... The government tackles the problem with short-term crackdowns."
 "Many Myanmar migrants caught in an illegal limbo," The Nation, 20 June 2016

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