Myawaddy – Mae Sot Border Reopens to Allow Burmese Migrant Workers to Return Home

Burmese migrant working in Thailand have started to make their way home as of August 1 the Myawaddy-Mae Sot border will reopen after it was closed due to COVID restrictions.

The border crossing will only open for migrant workers returning to Burma. Many workers traveling from other regions of Thailand to Burma were marooned at Mae Sot due to the closure of border crossing in early June.

A Burmese official, responsible for receiving the migrant workers, told Karen News. “Around 800 Burmese workers returning from other provinces in Thailand have been stranded on the Thai side of the border in Mae Sot. We will receive 200 people a day with one-day interval between groups. When all the current stranded workers have crossed, we will then welcome those from other parts of Thailand who want to return at a rate of 200 a day.”

Among the current 800 stranded workers in Mae Sot, 200 crossed through Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge No. 2 into Burma on August 1.

A Burmese labor activist based in Mae Sot, Thailand, said some workers were sick and some women had given birth after being stuck at the border for over a month.

Migrant workers said they paid travel agents between 3,000 and 8,000 Thai baht to get to the border from other parts of Thailand. Some said they had been arrested by police and repatriated to the border.

Migrant workers’ right groups said because of the COVID epidemic, many Burmese migrant workers in Thailand lost their jobs and were unable to find new work, so many decided to return home to Burma.

Returning migrant workers from Karen State were being quarantined in Mae Kaneh village, Myawaddy Township. Burmese officials working on the issue of returning workers said those from other States and Regions would be sent them back to their respective areas.

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