Report says most migrants to Thailand are undocumented

A report by the International Organisation for Migration says most migrants in Thailand come for work and are largely undocumented.

According to Thai PBS World, the organisation studied Cambodian and Myanmar migrants living in Tak, Rayong, Ranong, Chanthaburi, and Trat provinces between August and October 2022.

It found that 92% of those migrants come to Thailand for work, with another 8% coming for food security, education, or to flee violence.

Moreover, the overall data from the report showed the situations of migrants from Myanmar are more precarious than those from Cambodia in several areas. However, both bear considerable risk in each area and need serious developmental assistance.

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The report also found an obvious discrepancy in opportunities between women and men in each area. It also found that 33% of migrants from Myanmar are undocumented compared to 1% of their Cambodian counterparts.

Female migrants were found to be more often undocumented (22%) than males (7%). Cambodian migrants’ employment rates in Thailand are considerably higher than Myanmar workers with 70% gaining full-time employment, leaving only 2% unemployed.

Only 34% of Myanmar workers can find full-time jobs in Thailand, with 27% of migrants being unemployed. Women of both nationalities were found to have higher rates of unemployment upon migrating to Thailand.

Almost 73% of migrant workers received wages of 315 baht per day, or the minimum wage according to provincial rates.

Furthermore, 97% of Cambodians and 76% of those migrants from Myanmar are uneducated. The report suggests that around a quarter of the households could not afford to send their children to primary and secondary school, due to older kids needing to support their families.

Food security for migrants was found to be most severe in Tak and Ranong provinces. Almost half of those households (40%) lack health insurance.

Half of the migrants were classified as living in poor conditions, while the other half were classified as living in good conditions. However, only 6% were considered to be living a decent lifestyle.

For adult migrant workers, 32% face community violence risks, 28% face forced labour, and 23% face domestic violence. Among children, the risks also include child labour and marriage.

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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