Myanmar will issue passports and certificate of identity (CI) cards to all its citizens who hold the pink card issued by the Thai government, according to the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population.
The ministry said in a statement all pink card holders who can produce both their national identity card and census document will be issued passports at the Myanmar embassy after they are confirmed to be Myanmar citizens.
The Myanmar government will also issue the CI card to pink card holders who have no citizen identity card and census document at any of the six offices to be opened in Thailand for the purpose of issuing the identification documents.
The Thai government had issued the pink card (temporary permission for living and working) to Myanmar migrants who entered the country illegally and have been living there.
Pink card holders must live and work at the areas designated to them and cannot move from one township to another without prior permission from the Thai police.
They also have to pay Thai baht 1600 to the police for permission to leave their designated areas.
U Moe Aung Khaing, an attaché with the Myanmar embassy in Thailand told The Myanmar Times that with the CI card, pink card holders will be able to apply for visas.
“And then they can go anywhere,” U Moe Aung Khaing said.
In the statement, Myanmar Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population said the cost for the passport is B1050 while the cost for the CI card is B300.
The pink card holders can apply for the CI cards at 7-Eleven stores and service counters in Thailand on March 1. The cards will be issued on March 3 at the six issuing offices.
The ministry also advised the migrants not to use the services of brokers when applying for the CI card and passport for fear they will be over-charged.
However, Ko Aung Khant, a community relations officer of Thai-based Foundation for Education and Development, said the migrants will be charged twice -- once when they apply for the CI card and later when they apply for the passport.
He also pointed out that many migrants will need to use brokers due to the language problem.
There is an estimated 4 million Myanmar migrants living and working in Thailand with about 2 million holding pink cards and temporary passports.
Thai-based Aid Alliance Committee for Myanmar Migrants told The Myanmar Times last month that Thai police have been arresting Myanmar migrants even if they could produce their identification documents. They claimed that even migrants with proper documents were not spared and have been extorted.
Some 10,000 Myanmar citizens go to Thailand monthly in search of jobs, according to an official from the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population.