Cambodia labour talks set Tuesday

The Foreign Ministry will summon Cambodian ambassador to Thailand Eat Sophea on Tuesday to assure her the junta has no order to deport Khmer workers, and to clarify the country’s policy on migrant labour.

Permanent Secretary Sihasak Phuangketkeow said Monday the ministry would brief Mrs Sophea on attempts to tackle issues involving the employment of foreign workers.

The foreign ministry will officially deny to her "groundless rumours" and media reports that the National Council for Peace and Order had run a national crackdown on Cambodian workers. There is no existing order to force Cambodians to leave Thailand, regardless of their status. 

Mr Sihasak said the NCPO and seven ministries are discussing ways to revamp measures on illegal (unregistered) migrant labour in order to bring aliens into the legal workforce and allow them to receive benefits under Thai law, as well as to prevent them from being mistreated by employers or human trafficking gangs.

Thousands of Cambodian workers were flocking across the border all weekend and Monday at the main checkpoint in Aranyaprathet, Sa Kaeo province. Provincial Immigration Bureau officer Nathee Thongsukkaew said more than 54,000 Cambodian workers had crossed the border to Poipet in the past week.

In Phnom Penh, authorities said the number of returnees from Thailand had passed 120,000 and the stream was continuing.

Panic ensued last week after a junta spokeswoman announced plans to establish a committee to tackle issues involving the employment of foreign workers.

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