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Employers gather to complain about Phuket's migrant labor system

Phuket's Burmese 'Branching Out Into Businesses'

Saturday, November 20, 2010
BURMESE were starting their own businesses on Phuket as a result of the national verification system that gave them passport-style identification, a meeting heard yesterday.

Others were being hired to work in resorts, a gathering of about 40 concerned employers was told at Provincial Hall in Phuket City.

The Deputy General of the Labor Office in Bangkok, Prawit Keangpon, chaired the meeting, having come to Phuket to hear what the employers, mostly in the property construction industry, had to say.

Led by the President of the Phuket Business Association, Prasat Boontantrapiwat, people at the meeting told of their dissatisfaction with the national verification system, which was designed to overcome misgivings about the high number of illegal migrant workers.

Some estimates of the number of Burmese, working illegally and legally on Phuket and with their families included, run as high as 200,000.

But the new-found legitimacy delivered by the verification process has generated problems of an unexpected kind, the meeting heard. Khun Prasat estimated that the cost of the legitimisation process meant an employer was paying about 18,000 baht for each worker.

''Now the resorts come to take my people,'' Khun Prasat said. ''Who pays back the 18,000 baht to me?''

His sentiment was echoed by an employer who said he had 100 Burmese staff. ''If I make them all legal, how do I recoup the cost,'' he asked.

Burmese were now able to get driving licences and those with a good education and the ability to speak English were discovering that they could prosper on their own on Phuket, the meeting heard.

Burmese were opening shops, working in resorts, and one group had even set up their own small construction firm, the meeting was told.

Kanok Siripanichkoon, Director of the Phuket Transport Office, said that an average of 30 Burmese each day were now qualifying for motorcycle or car driving licences.

''What can I do,'' Khun Kanok said. ''I can't stop them.''

A ''Ranong model'' for Burmese ID under which a former Governor of Ranong issued local IDs to all Burmese was overlooked in preference for the more complicated and more costly national verification scheme, which is due to wind up in February.

Comments

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hard work pays off for burmese people!

Posted by Mike on November 20, 2010 14:21

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So sad that you can not treat them as slaves anymore !
What a delight to hear !
Burmese had been treated as slaves for many years in Thailand, paid down to 50 Baht a day and some companies even cheated them for money etc.
So good thing that they can have their freedom !

Posted by Karsten on November 20, 2010 17:40

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Thai builders are only involved with Burmese because the Thais won't do the work for the paltry pay they offer.
They are only concerned about the price of that labour going up, nothing else. Nepalese and Indians have businesses here by the thousands, but a Burmese having one or working in a resort is a cause for great concern..

Posted by Chob on November 20, 2010 21:29

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When you say it winds up in February, do you mean the implementation winds up, or that the program actually finishes and doesn't continue?

Is there a limit in the number of Burmese that can be verified?

Posted by JingJing on November 21, 2010 16:04

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So who is giving them work permits?
Can I get one, too?

Posted by No Workie on November 21, 2010 22:35

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''Now the resorts come to take my people,'' Khun Prasat said

Your People ?

Do you think they are your personal slaves ?

The comments by the Thai employers are a despicable testament to the attitudes towards workers from the neighboring countries.

So sad that these people finally have at least some human rights here and go figure, they choose not to work in lousy conditions for peanuts.

Burmese in general seem to speak far better English than Thais and I would not be surprised if they would quickly become the preferred nationality to hire in the hospitality industry.

Thai-Burmese war was almost 200 y ago. Yes, Thailand lost but now get over it and start treating your neighbors as fellow human beings.

I wish nothing but the best of luck to all Burmese here on Phuket.

Posted by Chris on November 22, 2010 14:29

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Kanok Siripanichkoon, Director of the Phuket Transport Office, said that an average of 30 Burmese each day were now qualifying for motorcycle or car driving licences.

''What can I do,'' Khun Kanok said. ''I can't stop them.''

Why would you want to stop them??

Posted by another steve on November 23, 2010 12:44

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Way to go Burmese !

Posted by Brian on November 27, 2010 23:40

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They should be issued with work-place related work permits like us farang are subjected to, then it would be illegal to change jobs and the whole process of applying for a new WP would apply.

Posted by Ian on November 30, 2010 11:37

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What is the process required for a Thai company to legally hire Burmese staff in Phuket?

Posted by Simon Luttrell on November 30, 2010 12:44

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thanks very much to see all comment

Posted by thura on July 16, 2011 15:26


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