News/Thailand: Repatriated Myanmar migrants back to work in

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Subject: News/Thailand: Repatriated Myanmar migrants back to work in
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Mon Dec 20 1999 - 21:18:30 EST


Repatriated Myanmar migrants back to work in Thailand

BANGKOK, Dec. 17 (Kyodo) - Thai police raided garment factories in the Mae
Sot district near the Myanmar border Friday and arrested nearly 2,000
illegal immigrants, many of whom had returned to work only days before
after an earlier roundup, a senior police officer said Friday.

More than 100 Thai police raided 10 garment factories and arrested 1,781
illegal migrants working in the plants, Pol. Maj. Gen. Charnvuth Vacharapuk
said.

He said the illegal workers have been returning since Thailand and Myanmar
reopened their border late last month. The border was closed by Myanmar
after its embassy in Bangkok was stormed by gunmen Oct. 1.

''The returnees have nothing to do at home and came to seek work in
Thailand again, but we have to enforce Thai laws and the government's
policy...of arresting and deporting them,'' he said.

Managers of the factories were also arrested in Friday's raid, a departure
from earlier sweeps that netted only illegal workers, Charnvuth said.

Employers of illegal foreign workers face up to 3 years in prison, fines of
up to 60,000 baht (1,561 dollars) or both, according to the 1979 Alien
Worker Law.

Thailand has repatriated about 1 million illegal immigrants from
neighboring countries since it launched a campaign against illegal workers
Nov. 3 to open jobs for Thailand's 1.4 million unemployed.

The Thai government, however, allows about 106,000 unskilled workers from
Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar to work in 37 provinces in 18 labor-strapped
sectors, including agriculture, fisheries, construction and mining. Their
permits are valid until Aug. 5 next year.

Melanie Orhant

morhant@igc.org
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