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Migrant workers in limbo

Dec 24. 2012
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By The Nation

The fate of Myanmar migrant workers in Thailand is hanging in the balance as labour ministers of the two countries fail to reach common ground over the extension of nationality verification.

Myanmar Labour Minister U Maung Myint visited Thailand over the weekend to follow up a promise which PM Yingluck Shinawatra gave to Myanmar President Thein Sein last week when they met in Dawei. Yingluck reportedly told Thein Sein Thailand would extend the deadline for nationality verification for migrants for 3 more months from Dec 14. The deadline left 1.3 million or more Myanmar workers undocumented and vulnerable to increased exploitation.

Myanmar Labour Minister U Maung Myint asked to meet with counterpart Phadermchai Sasomsap, but the Thai side informed the Myanmar minister Bangkok did not have a policy to extend the deadline. There may have been a misunderstanding, a Thai Labour official said. Those who have failed to verify their nationality after the deadline would be deemed illegal and face deportation. 

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