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Migrant workers: System doesn't work

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Current system for migrant worker health & passports has failed, punishing rather than helping, workers then leave system & become illegal again. 

Foreign migrant workers register and receive a passport in Samut Sakhon.

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EDITORIAL

Migrants need a better deal

3 May 2013

Public health concerns are one of the main reasons why it is important to put in place an effective system to regulate migrant workers.

Due to poor public health services in their countries, many migrant workers arrive here carrying communicable diseases that have already been brought under control in this country, among them pulmonary tuberculosis, elephantiasis and malaria.

There is only one solution to prevent a local resurgence of these diseases - include migrant workers in the public health system.

That is easier said than done if irregular migration continues. In 2010, the government decided to end irregular influxes of migrants. Under the new system, migrant workers are required to verify their nationalities and obtain passports from their home countries to get work permits and work here legally. 

A new and better system would make it easier for migrant workers to get medical help and reduce the spread of contagious diseases, right? Wrong.

Dr Charnwit Tarathep, deputy permanent secretary of the Public Health Ministry, has sounded the alarm about the new migrant labour management system and its failure to answer public health concerns.

According to him, there were 1.9 million migrant workers in the system with access to public health services in 2011. In 2012, there were only 1 million left. If this drastic decline in the migrant population was caused by their return to their home countries, it would have prompted a major outcry from employers, he said. 

That did not happen. There is only one explanation - the new system is driving away a large number of registered workers

Since the introduction of the complex, costly and corruption-plagued nationality verification system, statistics show communicable diseases among migrant workers have increased significantly, he said. So has the pregnancy rate among female migrant workers due to a lack of family planning support. Without proper vaccinations and other medical support, their babies may catch easily preventable diseases.

His warnings must be taken seriously.

To fix the new migrant labour regulation system, the government must make it affordable, convenient and client-friendly, cutting out the middlemen to prevent abuse of power. Stop offering services for only a short time and punishing workers who miss deadlines. Instead, offer year-round services to legalise workers' status.

Also, offer more incentives for migrant workers to join the system. At present, being legal does not mean they will get the minimum wage. In addition, the law prohibits them from changing jobs. If they do, their legal status ends and they will be deported.

They are also barred from leaving their designated zones, which robs them of freedom of movement. They cannot even hold driving licences. These laws that violate migrant workers' human rights must stop.

Furthermore, the authorities must get serious with employers who confiscate migrant workers' legal documents. If they cannot hold their own papers, police extortion will continue. Employers who refuse to give legal migrant workers a minimum wage, which is against the law, must also be punished.

If the new labour management system still results in migrant workers being abused, there is no chance of persuading others to join the system. Its flaws cannot be fixed if society refuses to give up ethnic prejudice and stop viewing them as national security threats. When they choose to stay underground, we have only ourselves to blame for the problems that ensue.

(Source: Bangkok Post, EDITORIAL, Migrants need a better deal, 3 May 2013, link)


Migrant Worker Rights Vocabulary

migrant  - a person who moves from one place to another อพยพ
migration - moving from one place to another place to live or work การอพยพ  ผู้อพยพ ในที่นี้หมายถึง คนต่างจังหวัดที่อพยพเข้ามาหางานทำที่กรุงเทพ

migrant worker - someone who travels to another place or country in order to find work (an immigrant is someone who comes to live in a country from another country) ผู้อพยพ
migrants need a better deal

concerns - worries ความกังวล
public health concerns

regulate
- to control an activity officially by using rules ควบคุม
regulate migrant workers

effective - works well, gets the job done; producing the result that was intended ได้ผลดี
an effective system to regulate migrant workers.

put in place -
create and set-up a system (and get it running)
put in place an effective system to regulate migrant workers.

Public health concerns are one of the main reasons why it is important to put in place an effective system to regulate migrant workers.

services - บริการต่างๆ
public health services

Due to poor public health services in their countries, many migrant workers arrive here carrying communicable diseases that have already been brought under control in this country, among them pulmonary tuberculosis, elephantiasis and malaria.

local - in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
resurgence - a new increase of activity or interest in a particular subject or idea which had been forgotten for some time การฟื้นคืน, การกลับสู่สภาพ

local
resurgence
prevent local resurgence of diseases

There is only one solution to prevent a local resurgence of these diseases - include migrant workers in the public health system.

regular - happening at same steady speed, no sudden jumps or increases
irregular - not regular, sometimes fast or a lot, sometimes slow or a little
irregular migration

influxes -
things coming into a place
irregular influxes
irregular influxes of migrants

easier said than done - meaning: it is difficult to do (and easy to talk about)

That is easier said than done if irregular migration continues.

In 2010, the government decided to end irregular influxes of migrants.

verify - check something to see if it true or ok; to prove that something is true, or to make certain that something is correct พิสูจน์ว่าเป็นความจริง
verify nationality - check to see what country they come from

work permit - the official document that gives a foreigner permission to work in the country
get work permit and work legally

Under the new system, migrant workers are required to verify their nationalities and obtain passports from their home countries to get work permits and work here legally.

contagious diseases - diseases that spread from person to person easily

spread - to (cause to) cover, reach or have an effect on a wider or increasing area or number of people กระจายไปทั่ว
spread of disease
reduce the spread of contagious diseases

A new and better system would make it easier for migrant workers to get medical help and reduce the spread of contagious diseases, right? Wrong.

alarm - to cause worry or fear that something unpleasant or dangerous might happen or is happening ทำให้กลัว
sounded the alarm

Dr Charnwit Tarathep, deputy permanent secretary of the Public Health Ministry, has sounded the alarm about the new migrant labour management system and its failure to answer public health concerns.

access - the right or opportunity to have or use something ได้รับสิทธิ์หรือโอกาสในการใช้
access - the ability to get something สิทธิหรือโอกาสในการใช้

According to him, there were 1.9 million migrant workers in the system with access to public health services in 2011. In 2012, there were only 1 million left.

drastic - having a very big effect มีผลกระทบอย่างใหญ่หลวง
drastic decline

population -  the group who live in one country, area or place กลุ่ม์ที่อาศัยอยู่ในบริเวณหนึ่ง
migrant population

outcry - public reaction of strong anger and disapproval   การคัดค้านอย่างรุนแรง
employers - companies that hire workers
a major outcry from employers

prompted - caused
prompted a major outcry from employers

If this drastic decline in the migrant population was caused by their return to their home countries, it would have prompted a major outcry from employers, he said.

registered - officially recorded with the government (and given permission to do something) 
registered workers

That did not happen. There is only one explanation - the new system is driving away a large number of registered workers

corruption - (See Wikipedia on bribery and political corruption)
plagued - caused a lot of problems for someone or something for a long period of time ทำให้ยุ่งยาก ลำบากมานาน
corruption-plagued

nationality - the official right to belong to a particular country สัญชาติ,เชื้อชาติ, ชนชาติ
verification - checking whether something is correct, checking if you have permission to enter

nationality verification system - a system that tells the government what country you come from
corruption-plagued nationality verification system

significantly - in an important way อย่างสำคัญ
communicable diseases among migrant workers have increased significantly

statistics - facts about something, described by counting them สถิติ
statistics show communicable diseases among migrant workers have increased significantly, he said.

complex - something that has several parts and is difficult to understand

Since the introduction of the complex, costly and corruption-plagued nationality verification system, statistics show communicable diseases among migrant workers have increased significantly, he said.

pregnancy - when a baby is growing inside a woman
rate - อัตรา
pregnancy rate - how fast a group of people are having babies

female - of a woman สำหรับผู้หญิง
female migrant workers

lack - does not have ขาดแคลน
support - help สนับสนุน
a lack of family planning support.

So has the pregnancy rate among female migrant workers due to a lack of family planning support.

vaccinations - injections that stop you from getting  a bad disease

proper - actual or real จริง (พระราชพิธีพระราชทานเพลิงพระศพจริง)
proper vaccinations
proper medical support

Without proper vaccinations and other medical support, their babies may catch easily preventable diseases.

take seriously - meaning: acting serious about this, taking actio to solve problem

His warnings must be taken seriously.

regulation - the laws that control and govern the industry or activity กฎระเบียบ ระเบียบข้อบังคับ
the new migrant labour regulation system

affordable - does not cost too much, so you are able to buy ไม่แพง
convenient - easy to do

client - customer or person you are providing service to
client-friendly

middlemen - companies that buy and sell goods (often in bulk) between the factory and the final consumer พ่อค้าคนกลาง
cut out the middlemen

abuse
- to use or treat someone or something wrongly or badly, especially in a way that is to your own advantage ใช้ในทางที่ผิด
abuse of power

To fix the new migrant labour regulation system, the government must make it affordable, convenient and client-friendly, cutting out the middlemen to prevent abuse of power.

deadlines - the day that you have to have something done
miss deadlines

punishing - causing severe damage
punishing workers who miss deadlines

Stop offering services for only a short time and punishing workers who miss deadlines.

 year-round - the whole year, all the time
offer year-round services

status - official or legal position สถานภาพ
workers' status

legalise - to make something be according to the law ทำให้มีอำนาจตามกฎหมาย ทำให้ถูกต้องตามกฎหมาย
legalise workers' status.

Instead, offer year-round services to legalise workers' status.

incentives - giving a reward for acting in a certain way สิ่งกระตุ้น รางวัล ผลตอบแทน
offer incentives for migrant workers to join the system

Also, offer more incentives for migrant workers to join the system.

wage - an amount of money that you earn for working, usually according to how many hours or days you work each week or month ค่าจ้าง
minimum wage

At present, being legal does not mean they will get the minimum wage.

prohibits - says "no" they cannot do something
In addition, the law prohibits them from changing jobs.

deported - the legal action of sending a person out of the country
If they do, their legal status ends and they will be deported.

designated - formally chosen แต่งตั้ง ที่ได้รับการแต่งตั้ง marked, separated, or give a name for a particular purpose ถูกกำหนด
designated zones

barred - prevented from doing
barred from leaving their designated zones

freedom of movement - being able to go where you want to go
robs them of freedom of movement.

They are also barred from leaving their designated zones, which robs them of freedom of movement.

driving licences
They cannot even hold driving licences.

rights - something you are legally or morally allowed to do or have สิทธิ์ (See Wikipedia)
human rights

violate - to do something that is against a law, rule or agreement ฝ่าฝืนกฎหมาย  ละเมิดกฏหมาย
These laws that violate migrant workers' human rights must stop.

confiscate - taking away; to official remove someone's possessions for legal reasons or as a punishment ริบทรัพย์ ยึดทรัพย์
employers who confiscate migrant workers' legal documents

authorities - government officials; the police or people in official organisations who have the legal power to make people obey laws or rules เจ้าหน้าที่ (ตำรวจ หรือผู้มีอำนาจ)
authorities must get serious with employers who confiscate migrant workers' legal documents

Furthermore, the authorities must get serious with employers who confiscate migrant workers' legal documents.

extortion - the crime of trying to obtain something by force or threat การขู่กรรโชก รีดไถ
police extortion

If they cannot hold their own papers, police extortion will continue.

refuse - say "no" they will nto do something
Employers who refuse to give legal migrant workers a minimum wage, which is against the law, must also be punished.

prejudice - an unreasonable opinion or feeling, especially the feeling of not liking a particular groups of people ความมีอคติ
ethnic prejudice
give up ethnic prejudice

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