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Burmese Workers in Chiang Rai Turn Work Permits into Fashion Statement after New Labour Law



Burmese workers in Chiang Rai create “document necklaces” stringing together their passports, ID cards and employment documents.

CHIANG RAI – Although the new labour law on foreign workers has scared many migrant workers back to their homeland, some Burmese workers with legal documentation have apparently welcomed the new regulations…by posting photos of themselves modelling the required documents.

Several workers from Tachileik, the border town across the river from Mae Sai in Chiang Rai province, shared their pictures on Facebook — perhaps starting a new fashion trend of “document necklaces” stringing together their passports, ID cards and employment documents. One posted a video of herself flaunting the documents in a dance routine.

Pakaimas Vierra, vice chairperson of the Chiang Rai Chamber of Commerce, told the Bangkok Post that few Burmese workers had been obliged to return to their homeland through Mae Sai because Chiang Rai immigration police had effectively enforced regulations in the past, and there were few factories in the province.

Unlike provinces on the western border such as Tak, she added, there were no large cities on Myanmar soil across the border from Chiang Rai.

Only 44 Myanmar people left Thailand through Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai border crossing on Saturday, and 14 others did so on Sunday.

Burmese workers create “document necklaces” stringing together their passports, ID cards and employment documents.

Labour authorities earlier said about 30,000 migrant workers had left Thailand through permanent border checkpoints nationwide since June 23, when the new executive decree on foreign workers took effect, with a fine of up to 800,000 baht per case of illegal employment.

As of Tuesday the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) said it will invoke Section 44 of the interim charter to postpone the introduction of new penalties for employment of unregistered foreign workers until the end of this year, army chief Chalermchai Sitthisart said on Tuesday.

Gen Chalermchai, also NCPO secretary-general, said the new law bothered many people because they were given too little time to make the necessary adjustments.

Therefore, the imposition of the decree’s Sections 101, 102, 119 and 122 would be postponed for 180 days until Dec 31, 2017, by use of Section 44, the army chief said.

Gen Chalermchai said the decree was beneficial because it would organise employment of foreign labour and promote national security.

By Chinnapat Chaimol

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