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May 27, 2020

Returned Myanmar Migrant Workers

By Lokethar

Recently Myanmar migrant workers to neighbouring countries have been returning in large numbers. Among them are workers who have been working abroad for quite some time in various sectors of the economy in the receiving country. Most of the workers have been working in the Agriculture, Fishery, Construction, Manufacturing and some other sectors. As a result many of them have gained experience, knowledge and skills in the occupations they were engaged in. The longer they had worked the more skilled they would be in the occupation concerned.
One of the objectives of the Myanmar law relating to Overseas Employment of 1999 is “to enable the systematic utilization within the country of the knowledge, experience and skills gained abroad according to the type of overseas employment undertaken”. Hence, it would be beneficial to the returnee workers who seek employment within the country as well as to the industries concerned if these returnee workers were to register themselves in the “Employment Exchanges” of the States or Regions concerned as “Job Seekers” for possible employment placement (after the period of Facility Quarantine, Home Quarantine, Community Quarantine if any , or other Isolation measures).
In doing so they should be asked to write their CVs containing such Information as their Name, NRC Number, Migrant Workers ID card number, Address and Contact Telephone number, the name of the Company/Workplace, Type of Occupation and length of the period of service, copy of work permit, and other relevant data including testimonials from the employers, if any.
The “Employment Exchange” concerned, if they have no current “Vacancy Order” from the local employers, could maintain data of the returnees for future placement. On the other hand they could send the data to the “Central Clearing Unit” of the Employment and Training Division of the Department of Labour for further processing and/or data entry as required.

Myanmar migrant workers wait at the second Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge in Myawady for screening  on 26 March, 2020. Photo: MNA
Myanmar migrant workers wait at the second Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge in Myawady for screening on 26 March, 2020. Photo: MNA

If the returnee migrant workers do not have documents recognizing their skills, they could be advised to apply to the National Skills Standard Authority (NSSA) of the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, for assessment and recognition of their skills. Getting a certificate of recognition of their skills could help them better to seek skilled employment both within the country and abroad, if they are so inclined.
It may be that some of the returnees may have saved some money and would like to set up a small business. If so they should be advised to contact the Micro, Small and Medium Businesses Organization concerned for any technical assistance, or additional financing they may need. As for exchanging any foreign currency for Myanmar Kyat they should seek the assistance of the Banks or Authorised Money Changers. If the returnees have any wages or payment due from their employer abroad, they should seek the services of the Overseas Employment Agent that sent them.
Perhaps it’s time to set up (if one has not already been set up) a “Migrant Worker Welfare Fund” as suggested in my report as the National Consultant to the “Migrant Worker Welfare Fund Feasibility Study” conducted under the ILO ASEAN TRIANGLE Project of 2014/15. Such a fund could, among other things, also help to meet cost of welfare measures required to assist Returnee Migrant Workers in dire circumstances.
It goes without saying, that the returnees must observe all the requirements of the Corona Virus Control measures which have been or are to be put in place by the authorities concerned, including the period of quarantine imposed for their health and safety and to prevent the possible spread of the disease within the country.
With Charity to all and Malice to none.

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