Connect with us


Call for action over illegal Burmese workers in Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: The Phuket Chamber of Commerce (PCC) is demanding that action be taken to deal with the the large and growing population of Burmese in Phuket.

Dr Sirichai Silapa-archa, chairman of the PCC and also a deputy director at Vachira Phuket Hospital, told the Gazette that the number of newborns at Vachira alone ranges from about 60 to 100 a month.

The other two government hospitals, in Thalang and Patong, report about 15 to 20 new Burmese babies each month, he said.

“All together, that works out to about 100 a month, or 1,200 a year,” he said.

A recent senate panel meeting held in Phuket was told the population of Burmese in Phuket could be as high as 200,000, a considerable chunk of the estimated 1.2 million in Thailand.

Although collectively referred to as Burmese by Thai authorities, many if not most of the people in question are not ethnic Burmese at all, but rather people who hail from lands under the control of the Burmese junta. Many are ethnic Mon.

As the newborn babies of these people fail to qualify for Thai or Burmese citizenship, they represent a large and growing future generation of stateless people who have never known a home other than Phuket. Such a situation could create social problems in the future, Dr Sirichai said.

The PCC has met with the Phuket Labor Office, the Employment Office and other agencies and groups to consult and try to formulate a policy. The PCC is proposing four measures to the Labor Ministry to deal with the issue, Dr Sirichai said.

He outlined the four measures as follows:

First, a relevant agency must identify all workers under the age of 15 years.

“We’re also asking for cooperation from the organizations involved to not permit pregnant women to work, even if they hold work permits,” he said.

Second, workers must not be allowed to bring other people along with them when they enter the country.

Third, workers must operate strictly under the law.

Fourth, there must be a renewed push to register all migrant workers.

Dr Sirichai said that more and more Burmese workers were coming to Phuket to work, using the resources of the island without paying taxes.

Thai law is also too lax on the issue of migrant workers bringing dependents with them, he added.

There was no clear policy on what to do with the Burmese children who were being born here, particularly the issue of giving them Thai nationality, he said.

Dr Sirichai said it was currently unclear whether the government would give them Thai nationality or push them out of the country.

These children are growing up without knowing what their nationality will be, he added.

Currently, 7,209 businesses in Phuket have registered as needing migrant laborers. Those companies have said they want to employ a total of 101,985 workers.

However, only 64,184 workers have been allowed to register by the Labor Office. Of these, just 27,300 have applied to have their nationality verified as part of the Thai government’s nationality verification scheme.

The national census now underway will for the first time try to get an estimate of how many foreigners actually call Phuket home. The census takers, students from Phuket Rajabhat University, have Burmese translators with them when they enter Burmese workers’ camps.


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)35 mins ago

Covid UPDATE Provinces: 14,260 new infections, 119 deaths

Coronavirus (Covid-19)45 mins ago

Vaccination registration open for foreign residents over 60 in Bangkok

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Autopsy results for woman who died after mixing vaccines

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Saturday: 14,260 new infections, news briefs

Thailand12 hours ago

Department head predicts Covid-19 could last up to another year

World13 hours ago

Swedish prison hostage situation resolved with pizza

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand15 hours ago

Minister: Foreigners, migrant workers are cared for amid Covid-19

Coronavirus (Covid-19)19 hours ago

“Withhold Intubation” for certain older Thammasat Hospital patients

Coronavirus (Covid-19)20 hours ago

Bang Sue vaccination centre open for expats 60+, under must wait

Coronavirus News & Updates20 hours ago

“Covid-19” deaths said to cause crematorium in Bangkok to partially collapse

Thailand20 hours ago

Nakhon Sawan farmers make large profits growing fingerroot as Covid cure

Coronavirus (Covid-19)21 hours ago

Leaked document: military arranging private Moderna vaccines

Thailand22 hours ago

Nakhon Si Thammarat arrest drug suspect hiding in jar

Media22 hours ago

19 year old man drowns in a Kanchanaburi river while rescuing his puppy

Thailand22 hours ago

Online registration site up for interprovincial travel permission

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8