Minister of Labour Negotiates with Myanmar to Increase Nationality Verification Officials

Mr. Chalermchai Sri-on, the Minister of Labour, on 26 Jan commented on the results of his trip to Myanmar between 22nd to 24th January 2010 to meet Mr Mong Min, the Deputy Minister ofForeign Affairs for Myanmar. The Minister said the trip was intended to discuss the existing nationality verification process (NV) for alien workers that has been proceeding slowly,particularly as a result of border closures.

Myanmar confirmed that the government would cooperate with the Ministry of Labour regarding NV of alien workers from Myanmar so that the process could be completed by 28th February2012. It was likely Myanmar officials would remain at the NV post in Ranong Province, and inaddition Myanmar officials would be sent to NV posts in Mae Sai in Chiangrai Province also.

At the moment, the Mae Sot NV post in Tak Province faced challenges as the border has been closed and this has resulted in the inability for the NV post to function. As a result, Myanmar is prepared to send officials to other NV posts inside Thailand instead as a replacement for this NV post in Mae Sot. It is expected that such post could be opened in Nakhon Sawaan Province.

In addition, the Myanmar authorities requested Thailand to open for a new migrant worker registration. The Myanmar authorities affirmed that that they would provide all requested assistance in proceeding with this issue to the greatest extent possible. Formally Myanmar authorities will adjust their electronic information systems so that the government is able to produce identification cards to prove alien workers in Thailand are Myanmar citizens. If the Thaigovernment opens registration or opens for extension and there are still migrants being smuggled into the country, Myanmar welcome Thailand to proceed according to law.

Thailand’s Minister of Labour additionally reported that if there is a new opening for registration,the Department of Employment will send mobile vehicles to the provinces to enable registration. In addition, the Myanmar authorities requested Thai authorities to survey the number of alien workers in Thailand with clarity and confirm numbers to the Myanmar Embassy in Thailand so that the Embassy can provide identification documents and related documents to confirm statusso that migrant workers are able to complete NV. In relation to the fresh import of migrantworkers in accordance with the law, this issue remains under negotiations but it is clear the method to be used will create a central role for broker companies in Myanmar.