- By: Tommy Pauk
Hundreds and thousands of people from Myanmar have been staying and working as political refugees and economic migrants in various countries in different regions for over two decades. Protecting and saving the lives of Myanmar migrant workers abroad is our grave concern. Here in the sense that Myanmar migrant workers stand for all national brethren. Due to economic difficulties and unemployment problem in Myanmar, they venture earnings or job abroad. Currently, in the world, some people from developing countries are migrating to prosperous countries or industrialized countries in search for jobs. Even when they get job, they cannot enjoy the human rights and their lives are not protected by specific law in the host countries. Since they are illegally working in the foreign countries, their wages are less than the local workers’ wages and they cannot enjoy social security. Myanmar migrant workers are considered the cheapest laborers or the working robots. Nevertheless, they have to work hard and endure the hardship and ill-treatment given by factory owners or the local bosses in the host countries. The people of all national races of Myanmar love to live and work in their native country_ Myanmar. They do not wish to work away from home. In that case, the entire people of Myanmar ought to cooperate with the new government to solve the problem effectively and seriously.
During the successive Junta governments’ eras, tens of thousands of people from Myanmar left for neighboring countries and First world to seek better and decent jobs legally or illegally. The people from both rural and urban collected money by selling their owned land plots, some properties and even borrowed money from the usurers for the brokerage charges in finding jobs abroad.
Unfortunately, some are cheated by so-called job brokers or fraudsters. Some job-seekers were cheated and lost their money just before they reached a certain country and some were cheated in a particular country after they had entered it legally. Such troublesome situations make every job-seeker disastrous. Still there are millions of Myanmar migrant workers working in various countries in various regions in the world. The poverty, unemployment problem, inadequate job creations, civil war and high cost of living are the root causes which lead some rural and urban people to become migrant workers. Their basic intent is to explore comfortable life or making a fortune indeed. The locals despise Myanmar migrant workers and treat like their slaves. Actually, there is no Myanmar migrant worker who does not love his or her motherland. Besides that, they are not really happy to work in any foreign countries but they have to endure the risky life in foreign countries to earn more money for supporting their family or the elderly parents or the children in Myanmar. Myanmar migrant workers those who work in the First world are treated unfairly by the government and the citizens of the First World.
Moreover, Myanmar migrant worker are always insecure about their stay in foreign countries. These days the Overseas Labor Agencies in Myanmar recruit the laborers and send them on contract basis between the agencies and employers abroad legally. However, the wages, benefits, fringe benefits and other allowances do not meet the standard and norms of the labor rights in First World and the Third World. Myanmar migrant workers receive the lowest payment for their services though they are honest, hard working and efficient. The employers seldom award bonuses to Myanmar migrant workers in the end of a calendar year. The stable economic development, modern infrastructure, hard currencies, job opportunities of some of the neighboring countries allure Myanmar migrant workers to earn more money or to make a living there avidly. The internal armed conflict is one of the root causes for becoming migrant workers as they cannot safely earn their living in their states in Myanmar. Consequently, they fled from the civil war and worked in the neighboring countries.
Both political leaders and the succeeding governments in Myanmar since last five decades ought to share the blame for the crises of Myanmar migrant workers. Now, the entire people of Myanmar demand protections for Myanmar migrant workers seriously as the country Myanmar has already been on the track of democratic endeavors and building democratic state. All the citizens of Myanmar can have human rights equally among any other nationals home and abroad. Our prime concern is to save Myanmar migrant workers working abroad. More and more job opportunities must be created in The Republic of the Union of Myanmar so that the migrant workers will return home willingly. A number of Myanmar human resources are draining away to non-native countries indeed. The new government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar must call them back and create the adequate job opportunities for them. The incumbent government should lay down the firm and effective policies for rehabilitating the Myanmar migrant workers those who have already returned home. We all should welcome the returning Myanmar migrant workers with warmth and comfort. Gradually, Myanmar migrant worker are returning home with the great expectation for the guaranteed livelihoods and employment in Myanmar. Our firm belief is that when we attain constant economic development in Myanmar, the issue of Myanmar migrant workers can be solved