Thailand cracks down on migrant workers

Reuters . Bangkok

Thailand is cracking down on migrant workers from neighbouring countries, saying they are ‘stealing jobs from Thais’, amid fears that anti-immigrant sentiment is rising as Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy stagnates.
In an operation led by the Thai labour department, police and troops on Wednesday raided a fresh produce market in Bangkok and arrested 14 people, most of them from neighbouring Myanmar.
‘We have received many complaints about illegal immigrants working in markets including Vietnamese and even South Asians who were stealing jobs from Thais,’ Thai immigration police chief Nathorn Phrosunthorn told Reuters.
‘They should be doing the jobs that Thais don’t want to do like work as house cleaners,’ he said.
Under the terms of a 2015 memorandum of understanding Vietnamese citizens are restricted in their employment in Thailand and can work only as manual labourers in Thailand’s fishing or construction sectors.
Cambodians also have been nabbed in the raids, along with people from Myanmar and Vietnam.
More than 3 million migrants work in Thailand, the vast majority from neighbouring Myanmar, according to the International Organization for Migration.
Thailand became wealthy compared to its neighbours when its economy boasted annual growth rates of over 7 percent in the 1980s and 1990s, drawing migrant workers from across the Greater Mekong Delta region and other parts of Asia. They mostly did jobs Thais tend to spurn, including backbreaking work in the fishing and construction sectors.

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