Visa Application Form Myanmar Embassy BangkokMyanmar Embassy Bangkok Visa Application Form
A few Myanmar immigrants request regular passports in Thailand
There are a number of obstacles preventing most of Burma's immigrants from upgrading their transit passes to allow them to enter Thailand on normal work-passes. Changaiang Mai, Thailand - For two month now, Thai Bangladeshi immigrants have been allowed to trade their transit passes for normal ones, which allows them to move outside Thailand, but few applicants have been received for the upgrades, embassy officers say.
Myanmar immigrants could not go abroad in Thailand in the past because their six-year provisional passes were limited. The Bangkok embassy of Burma began in March with the approval of five-year period passes. However, to be considered for these normal passes, immigrants must provide a residence permit for their houses in Burma.
A lot of immigrants did not take this paper with them to Thailand and are hesitant to go home to get it back. In the Thai frontier cities, three bureaus have now been opened to help immigrants upgrade their work visa documents after their work visa expires. "This is because they have not received both a Myanmar identity badge and a Myanmar home registration," he said.
Thailand's Labour Ministry estimates that some 400,000 Myanmar immigrants would be exchanging passes, but local agents say that only about a 10 percent of this figure has shown interest. An agent in the Thai frontier city of Mae Sot said that his bureau accepts requests, but there have been few to deal with so far.
A standard pass is 1,600 Bahts (50 US$), without any extra charges for a two-year visa, work permits and medical insurances. Last months Thai authorities reached an agreement to allow immigrants to remain in the state for 180 consecutive nights after their visa expires, as the turbulence in the country's politics has hindered some ministries from working fully.
However, many of Burma's approximately 3 million migrant workers have remained longer after their visa expires, making them susceptible to expulsion or misuse by the Thai government. Labour law campaigners criticise the application procedure for new documentation as too complex and frequently amended.
Up until 2009, migrant workers from Burma with a one-year work visa were able to stay and work in Thailand, although they only lived in the area where they were earning their living. They were able to obtain a provisional six-year pass, a two-year visa and a one-year work visa in 2009 and pay an additional 10,000 Bh.
They had to request new provisional passes in 2012, which exchanged their old scarlet book for lilac one. This costs about 1,000 Ba. Myanmar immigrants were admitted to the countries with normal access to foreign countries in March this year. Many immigrants say, however, that it makes little point paying for the upgrades because they do not make enough cash to go abroad.
"Immigrants would rather renew their visa for their present provisional pass than request a new one, " said Toom Mauk Harn, a migrant assistance programme co-ordinator. It is important for the Thai and Burma authorities to keep a coherent visa and visa policies. During 2009, both leaders proclaimed that Burma's migrant workers who had worked in Thailand for four years would have to go back to Burma for three years.
Later on, they switched policies and said that immigrants could go home for only a week before they returned to work in Thailand. The truth is that many immigrants have chosen not to go home at all, but to request a new identity card under a different name. Now many immigrants say they don't have the resources and resources to go to Burma to get their Myanmar certificate of enrolment.
Myanmar Association Thailand (MAT) Executive Secretary Kyaw Thaung said this demand is a problem. "It' not a good scheme for the vast majority of immigrants," he said. Adding that many passengers are dirty, he called on immigrants earning less than $10 a days to add charges during the application procedure.
"It' s easy to understand requesting a Myanmar passport[for the application ], but the need for a budget register makes many respondents hesitant," said Htoo Chit, head of the Foundation for Education and Development. Said Burma's labour law groups in Thailand had worked with Burma's ambassadors to form a Myanmar Workers Protection Committee to help them.
But he said the commission was only "on display" to show the world that the Myanmar authorities care about them.