The Myanmar Overseas Employment Agencies Federation is urging the Labour Ministry to make it easier for migrant workers to pay the 3600-baht (K174,000) processing fee charged by the Thai government.
The fee covers a work permit, health insurance, medical check-up and visa.
Myanmar nationals who want to work in Thailand under an agreement between the two countries have to pay K150,000 to the employment agency and 3600 baht to Thailand.
U Myat Thu, a federation executive, said that might be too much because workers usually have to borrow money to pay the fees.
He urged the ministry to discuss the possibility of paying the Thai fee in instalments with its Thai counterpart.
“We have urged the labour minister to ask about doing away with the 3600-baht fee because our workers have to pay a lot,” he said.
According to the agreement between the countries, Myanmar employment agencies can only charge workers K150,000 each.
Prior to the agreement, some Thai employers and agencies deducted as much as 10,000 baht from each worker’s pay.
“We want to make it easier for our workers to go to Thailand without paying a lot,” said U Myat Thu.
Labour Minister U Thein Swe told the federation that his office will discuss the possibility of spreading out payment of the 3600 baht with the Thai Labour Department on Sunday.
‘’We have been trying to set up a no-cost system for our workers,” U Thein Swe said.
On May 5, the Migrant Workers Rights Network said that Myanmar workers are being charged up to 20,000 baht in fees by dishonest employers, brokers and interpreters.
It called on workers who have been charged more than the 3600-baht processing fee to file complaints.