Fr. Phonsri Thongkham is the new responsible of Hospitality House, the center under the NCCM (National Catholic Commission on Migrant – https://www.facebook.com/NCCM-National-Catholic-Commission-on-Migration-230354447062316/) that takes care of the foreign migrant workers in Saphanmai and Rangsit area.
In Thailand there are more than 2,300,000 foreign migrant workers (but the figures are not clear) coming from all South-Est Asia, but mainly from Burma, 1,800,000 units, and Cambodia around 660,000 units. The majority of them are illegal migrants, but in the last few years many received the pink card that “open the way for those workers to permanently work in Thailand legally” said a government official.
Thailand benefits enormously from Burmese migrants who fill unskilled labor shortages. The general Thai population is only increasing by 0.8% per year, and the prime labor force, those fifteen to thirty-nine years of age, is no longer growing in size. This has made it difficult for businesses to fill positions and stay competitive.
The foreign unskilled workers are a resource for Thailand, but their conditions, for the legal as well as the illegal migrants, are very precarious. The wages are lower for them than for the Thai workers, they don’t have social security, their ignorance of the law makes them vulnerable. Illegal foreign workers are often abused and, sometime, prey of human traffickers.
Hospitality House organizes courses and training sections to help foreign migrant workers. Thai language classes give the migrant workers the first element for integration, sewing school helps the women to set a small business. Also a basic knowledge of Thai law is given and expert come at the center to make people aware of human trafficking risk. The volunteers visit the different communities around the area, gather the children and prepare activities or help them with their homework.
Hospitality House is a point of reference for the foreign migrant workers in the area and the commitment of the father and the volunteers is very valuable for them.