Creation of Job Opportunities
- Khin Maung Oo
- Much has been heard about illegal Myanmar migrant workers returning from Thailand. Just prior to this, news about attempts to search for them by their worried families and parents occupied the pages of our news media. This is the result of the Management of Foreign Workers Act 2017 which came into effect on 23 June 2017 by Executive Decree.
As regards this affair, the Meeting of Experts on Myanmar-Thailand Labor Affairs was held yesterday in Yangon. From this, we were slightly relieved to hear that the Prime Minister of Thailand has delayed the enforcement of the above law for four months to give time for foreign workers to come into compliance with the law.
As for the Myanmar Government, prior to the occurrence of this affair it had made arrangements for educating and sharing knowledge on labor affairs with Myanmar migrant workers through labor officers serving at the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok, instructing these workers to apply for residential permits or to return home if they failed to get residential permits. Yet, due to language deficiency, failure to know the exact day and date when the above law would come into effect and because of poor education, many arrests were made. Under the new employment law, employers and employees are likely to be subject to punishment by fine and imprisonment.
Out of several millions of Myanmar citizens working abroad, most went to Thailand through illegal routes. Technicians and scholars went to foreign countries to work as laborers. Such an exodus of workers to foreign countries may lead to loss of human resources and brain drain for the country.
Though earning much income from working abroad rather than in our own country, we have to live far away from our beloved families and we are likely to suffer from social evils. Presently, most Myanmar laborers are facing many difficulties, more and more are trying to work abroad, like being attracted to bright lights. This may be attributed to various weaknesses in the national economy during the time of previous governments.
With a view to solving this problem, the Union Government and responsible officials are trying their best with a clear vision and a well formulated strategy. However, better and more effective arrangements are urgently required to be laid down. What is needed now is to bring about creation of more and more job opportunities by encouraging the emergence of local industries with better paying jobs. The present Government is working very hard to increase direct foreign investments and to develop a strong and vibrant private sector. Some economists even see the private sector as “the engine of growth”.
To sum it up, the Union Government has been implementing projects to open vocational training schools which can guarantee jobs for future generations. As the far-sighted plans of the present government bear fruit, with more factories and economic enterprises hiring more workers with higher pay scales, the need for our workers to go abroad will decrease day by day.