BY Akka : The Temporary Passport Office for migrant workers in Kwathaung is moving to Ranoung starting on 1 July 2010.
From 1 July through to 30 September, the temporary passport office will be moved after an agreement was reached between the Thai and Burmese governments.
According to one of public service personnel at Ranoung, the office is being moved because it is much safer and more convenient for Burmese migrant workers in Thailand without ID cards.
“Now that the office has moved here, it is much easier and cheaper for migrant workers to obtain temporary passports, which mean that they don’t need to worry about being arrested.”
She explained that 15 public service police from Burma had already arrived at Ranoung and also over 100 migrants workers have received passports, so as of this week operations are proceeding smoothly.
On an average day at the passport office in Kawthaung, around 400 migrant workers were issued with temporary passports. At the office in Ranoung thanks to a large wide office, around 1000 migrants can be issued with passports in a day, according to one of traveler service.
There are 14 Service Companies in Thailand that assist Burmese migrant workers who want to obtain a temporary passport.
A temporary passport holder can legally go to the whole of Thailand and Burma. Additionally, they hold the same rights as Thai citizens, such as health support, and in the case of violence, the right to make a report to the Human Rights Department.
Although the Thai government initially gave migrant workers without temporary passports until 28 February 2010 to obtain one, they have extended that deadline until 28 February 2012.
There are three temporary passport offices on Thai-Burma border. Ranoung, Myawaddy and Tachileik have all been assigned different registration codes as of 26 May 2010.
Burma Labour Solidarity Organization estimates that there are 2 million illegal and legal Burmese migrant workers in Thailand.