Regularisation of Migrants

Since the 1980s, large numbers of migrant workers from Cambodia, Myanmar, and Lao PDR have migrated across porous borders to Thailand and contributed significantly to its economic and cultural development. Over the years, the Thai government has developed a number of systems for the regularisation of these migrants (to learn more about these processes, please refer to the Further Reading section below). Attempts to meet labour demands and manage migration at the same time, have resulted in ad hoc registration policies that have been developed with little long-term vision. Restrictive conditions attached to registration also have the opposite outcome of protecting migrants.

A border crossing between Poi Pet, Banteay Meanchey, Cambodia and Aranyaprathet, Sa Kaeo, Thailand (Photo: MMN/ John Hulme)

MMN urges governments to enhance and strengthen efforts to facilitate safe and regular migration in order to prevent situations where immigration enforcement action becomes necessary. Regularisation policies should be developed with meaningful input from migrant workers and sufficiently reflect their needs and demands. 

Along with our focus on the theme of arrest, detention and deportation (ADD), MMN regularly monitors and conducts research on regularisation policies and their impacts on migrants. Based on migrants’ input and demands, MMN advocates for governments of destination countries and countries of origin to enhance collaboration in making migration mechanisms simpler, faster, cheaper, and more accessible to migrant workers.

Related Initiatives

Further Reading

Regularisation of Migrants in Thailand

Read an introduction of the current systems concerning the regularisation of migrants in Thailand

Migration in Thailand: Timeline of Facts and Figures

Read about the development of Thailand's regularisation policies between 2004 and 2013, presented in a timeline format.