4,000 Cambodian workers return home from Thailand ahead of new law

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-06 22:04:03|Editor: Zhang Dongmiao
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PHNOM PENH, July 6 (Xinhua) -- In fear of arrest, about 4,000 Cambodians working in Thailand have returned home although the Thai government has delayed the full enforcement of a new labor law issued on June 23, Cambodian Labor Minister Ith Samheng said on Thursday.

"Around 4,000 Cambodian migrant workers have returned home from Thailand since June 23 till today (Thursday)," he told reporters at Phnom Penh International Airport after he returned from a working visit to Thailand.

The minister said currently, approximately 1.05 million Cambodians are working in Thailand, and about 300,000 of them are undocumented.

The Thai new labor law, which is aimed at tackling human trafficking and regulating foreign workers in Thailand, sparked panic and prompted more than 60,000 foreign workers to flee from the country, many of them from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.

Under the law, employers, who hire unregistered foreign workers without permits, will be fined up to 23,557 U.S dollars and undocumented migrant workers can face fines of up to 3,000 U.S. dollars and five years of imprisonment.

According to Ith Samheng, the Thai government has delayed the implementation of the new labor law for 180 days.

The minister said Cambodia would launch a 100-day, large-scale campaign to provide passports to all undocumented migrant workers in Thailand.