The Burmese embassy in Bangkok said it plans to conduct more than 20 site visits to migrant workers from Burma who hold “pink cards” for their stay in Thailand, but who do not have Burmese-issued Nationality Verification Cards.
Counselor to the embassy, Thein Naing, told DVB that the site inspections, which will be carried out by five teams at industrial sites where many Burmese migrants make up the workforce, will help those Burmese workers who have the correct documentation to apply for temporary passports via the National Verification Process, a step required by Thai law to grant migrants legal status to stay and work in Thailand.
“If the migrants can fulfill the requirements they will get full documentation, otherwise they will be issued ‘green cards’ as proof that they are citizens of our country,” he said. “Ultimately, we want all migrants to have passports.”
The site visits will be conducted between May to November this year, said the embassy counselor.
The current “pink cards”, which allow holders a temporary stay in Thailand, are due to expire on 31 March. However, the Thai government has announced that all cards will be extended automatically for three more months beyond 1 April.
Deputy ministers from Thailand and Burma met last week in Bangkok to discuss issues of legal status and capacity building for migrant workers.
Meanwhile, ten migrants from Burma were arrested on Sunday for illegal entry into Thailand via Kanchanaburi, the Bangkok Post reported.
Migrants in Thailand make up about five percent of the county’s workforce, and provide a crucial pool of labour for low-skilled, often dangerous, industries such as fishing and construction. Up to three million people, or about 80 percent of the migrant population, are estimated to come from Burma. Many occupy a quasi-legal existence in the Kingdom that creates problems when attempting to access healthcare, accident compensation and legal assistance.