Thais waive border fees for Cambodian New Year

Arantyaprathet train station is usually crowded during Songkarn festival when Cambodian workers go home to celebrate the festival with their families. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Thai officials will next month waive fees at border gates to allow workers from Cambodia to return home for the New Year.

The Cambodian embassy in Thailand confirmed on Wednesday the move to Khmer Times and said the free pass will apply to all Cambodian workers and under 18-year-old family members. 

“From April 5 to 30, Khmer workers carrying pink cards, passports or valid documents will be able to cross the Thai border to Cambodia during Khmer New Year and return to Thailand without paying border fees,” a letter from Thai officials said. 

Valid documents include letters of permission from the Thai or Cambodian Labor Ministry, work visas and work permits, according to a report in Khmer Times.

“Workers must have their documents and return back to work in Thailand before May 1,” said the letter, adding that workers can contact Cambodian embassy officials in Thailand if they have problems crossing the border.

Cambodian people celebrate the New Year by gathering with family members over the three-day celebration. Children who work far away from home often go to visit their parents and relatives in their hometown.

The New Year this year is from April 14 to 16.

Thailand’s assistant government spokesman Athisit Chaiyanuwat told the Bangkok Post the free border crossings will also be offered to migrants from Laos and Myanmar.

Thailand, Laos and Myanmar celebrate the New Year at the same time.

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