Myanmar nationals who hold “pink cards” in Thailand are being fleeced of some 7000 baht by brokers for identity documents from the homeland, according to the Migrant Workers Right Network (MWRN).

“Big factories that obey laws are not profiteering at the expense of migrant workers but some small factories are. Now, brokers and factory officials are collecting about B6000 to B7000 from the workers for their certificates of identity [CI] applications,” MWRN vice president U Aung Kyaw told The Myanmar Times.

Myanmar migrants with pink cards or temporary documents who are eager for the CI have to use brokers due to the complicated process involved in applying for CI, said the Thai-based migrant activists group.

U Aung Kyaw said they found that many Myanmar migrants who hold pink cards have been told to pay B6000 to B7000 to brokers and factory officials as service fee for their CI applications.

“Myanmar migrants know they are free to move around and return home if they have the CI. So, they are eager to get the CI. And brokers are profiteering by cooperating with factory officials,” said U Aung Kyaw.

The Myanmar government announced in February that certificates of identity will be issued to Myanmar migrants who hold pink cards in Thailand at six CI issuing centres today (March 3) and the application fee is B300.

The government also advised the migrants not to use brokers in applying for the CI in order to avoid having to pay extra.

However, U Aung Kyaw said the migrant workers found the CI application process confusing and so had to resort to using brokers.

“Myanmar migrants want to apply for CI as they are eager to go home. But it is not easy for workers to get CI. They need documents for the employer and also need assistance from the brokers,” a migrant worker at a garment factory in Thailand told The Myanmar Times.

Migrant worker activists said Myanmar workers in Thailand had to pay twice as much if they were issued the CI because they would have to apply for passports.

They also said the Myanmar government should issue temporary passports to pink card holders as it was more useful than the CI.

It is estimated there are about four million Myanmar workers in Thailand, of whom 1.7 million have been issued temporary passports by the Myanmar government while about 800,000 have pink cards from the Thai government.

Pink cards are issued to migrants who enter Thailand illegally and allow them to live and work temporarily in restricted areas. However, their movements beyond the restricted areas are prohibited without permission from the respective town administration authorities. By Zaw Zaw Htwe

Source: http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/25173-thai-pink-card-workers-ripped-off-by-brokers.html

The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the ASEAN Trade Union Council.