New migrant rules silence Chong Chom market

July 30, 201510:27 am307 views
New migrant rules silence Chong Chom market
New migrant rules silence Chong Chom market

Cross-border trade at the Chong Chom – O Smach border crossing in Kap Choeng district of Surin province, opposite Cambodia’s Oddar Meanchey province, has become very quiet since the provincial employment office imposed restrictions on migrant workers.

The restrictions were postd on a large billboard by the Surin employment office at the entrance to the Chong Chom border market run by the provincial administration organisation.

The message on the billboard, written in Thai and Cambodian, says:

– According to the Migrant Workers Employment Act of 2008, migrant workers who want to work in Thailand must get a work permit from the provincial employment office;

– Cambodian, Lao and Myanmar migrants can be employed for manual labour and household work only;

– Those found working without a permit are liable to up to five years in jail and/or a fine of 2,000 – 200,000 baht and their employers to a fine of 10,000 – 100,000 baht per worker;

– Migrant workers who have a work permit but the type of work they are employed for is not allowed by the law are liable to a fine of up to 20,000 baht and their employers to a fine of up to 10,000 baht; and

– Migrant workers are definitely not allowed to engage in trading.

The announcement on the billboard has scared away Cambodian traders and workers.  They do not dare to cross the border to work at Chong Chon market and sell their goods as usual. As a result, business at the market has become quiet.

Meng Sareng, 52, a Cambodian trader, said she would rather stay home while these restrictions on migrants are in force.

Supaporn Thangbutdee, 37, a Thai trader, said the market – which usually sees Cambodians come to buy and sell goods during the weekend – is now in a slump as a result of the restrictions.

She asked the authorities to ease the restrictions in order to bring the border market back to life.

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