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Myanmar – Recruiters to stop sending migrant workers after attacks

18 June 2013

The Myanmar Labour Ministry has called on overseas employment agencies to stop sending local workers to Malaysia after a series of assaults on migrant workers last month, according to local media reports.

The Ministry has issued a directive to prevent workers from moving to Malaysia over concerns of their welfare. This follows attacks on Burmese migrant workers which have led to the deaths of up to six people although precise numbers are unclear. The assaults in Malaysia are thought to be linked to “social” conflicts back in Myanmar.

“We are imposing a temporary suspension on [sending workers to Malaysia] due to the recent incidents – the workers will be allowed to go when the situation is calm again. We asked the [employment agencies] to understand this is an inappropriate time to be sending workers there,” a spokesperson told Democratic Voice of Burma.

Recruiters said that not all migrant workers from Myanmar will be stopped from entering Malaysia, only those without labour cards which allow migrants to leave the country for overseas jobs. The managing director of Win Star Overseas Job Employment Agency, Kyaw Win, said to the paper: “The ministry’s order didn’t suspend sending migrants to Malaysia – they only officially suspended issuing migrant labour cards. Those who have labour cards and plane tickets are allowed to go.”

It is estimated that there are more than 400,000 Burmese migrant workers in Malaysia, about 300,000 of those are legally in the country. 

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