Myanmar will issue ordinary passports (red passports) to migrant workers in Thailand even if their visas are no longer valid, said Myo Aung, a director-general from the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security.
The ordinary passport with a red cover will replace the temporary ones, often referred to as violet passports. New passport applications together with related documents must be submitted to respective passport centres in the border region.
But those migrant workers without related documents will reportedly have to return Myanmar for national citizenship cards and household registrations.
Under an agreement between Thai and Myanmar governments, the temporary passports that allow a four-year visa for Myanmar migrant workers to stay in Thailand were issued first. And now the Myanmar government is preparing to issue ordinary passports.
With new passports, Myanmar workers can work not only in Thailand but also in other countries.
However, 70 percent of Myanmar workers in Thailand find it difficult to apply for new passports as they have no citizenship cards and household registrations. And there have been tens of thousands of Myanmar migrant workers holding overstay visas, and some of them are out of work because of their job suspensions, according to the Migrant Workers’ Rights Network, a Thailand-based labour-related association.
According to the data released by the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, there are more than 10,000 Myanmar migrant workers whose visas have no longer valid but only 37 have applied for new passports.