Migrant deal stalls as talks break down


BANGKOK, The signing of a labour employment agreement between Thailand and Myanmar has been postponed indefinitely after the two countries failed to agree on extending the nationality verification process for migrant workers.

Labour Minister Padermchai Sasomsapand his Myanmar counterpart Myint Thein were scheduled to sign an agreement on alien labour employment yesterday, with the verification process for foreign workers in Thailand having ended on December 14th.

But, according to an anonymous source, the signing of the agreement was postponed as working panels from the two countries could not reach a conclusion on the extension of the verification programme.

Myanmar wants Thailand to extend the scheme beyond the expiry date.

Myanmar labour authorities claimed Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra promised an extension for another three months when she met Myanmar President Thein Sein recently.

But Somkiat Chayasriwong, permanent secretary for labour, said that claim was based on a misunderstanding. Instead, the Thai government will allow foreign workers who failed to complete the process to continue to work with their employers for three more months, but the employers must report the workers to labour authorities within one month. Cabinet approval for this relief measure will be sought in early January.