Myanmar migrants working in Thailand face the prospect of deportation unless they register with the National Verification (NV) process by the end of the month, Thai officials confirmed at a coordination meeting in Bagan last week.
Under the NV process, Myanmar workers are required to return to Myanmar to gain temporary passports and Thai work permits. The Thai government has set a February 28 deadline for workers to express their intention to register for the program.
Registered workers will then be granted legal status under Thai law and will receive the same rights as Thai workers, according to officials from both governments.
Mr Jirisak Sukhonchaat, director general of Thailand’s Employment Department, said in a statement on February 17 that more than 200,000 migrants from Myanmar had already expressed their intention to register.
“Those who have completed NV total 26,902 persons. These figures are from the total applicable populations of 1,079,000 persons from Myanmar,” Mr Jirisak said.
“Those workers who do not express their intention to enter into NV prior to February 28, 2010 shall be deported from Thailand,” he said.
Workers who register their intention have two years to complete the NV process.
U Maung Myint, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, told The Myanmar Times on February 14 the Myanmar “government had drawn up a plan to finish issuing temporary passports for 1.2 million illegal Myanmar workers in Thailand by February 2012”.
However, he said the government was hoping Thailand would extend the deadline to give workers more time to register.
Myanmar expects to process somewhere from 2000 to 3000 temporary passports a day and 600,000 altogether in 2010.
Once issued with a temporary passport, migrants will then be eligible for a Thai visa, work permit and health insurance. Legal workers are entitled to reside and work in Thailand for two years at a time for a period not exceeding four years.
At the 8th Meeting of Myanmar-Thailand on the Employment of Myanmar Workers in Thailand, held at Aureum Palace Hotel in Bagan on February 13-14, delegates from both countries met to discuss the NV process.