Thailand’s First Online Migrant Information Hub Unveiled
Bangkok – This week (09/10), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in partnership with the Migrant Working Group (MWG), UN Women, the multi-stakeholder initiative MOVE Group, and local private and public sector partners, launched Thailand’s first online migrant worker information hub, www.mitrthai.com.
The ‘MitrThai’ website (meaning Thai friends in Cambodian, Laotian and Thai languages) provides migrant workers from Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Myanmar with access to up-to-date information and referral services in relation to safely migrating, working and living in Thailand. It aims to enhance the protection of migrant workers in Thailand through information in four languages – Khmer, Laotian, Myanmar and Thai.
“One of the key barriers to protecting the rights of migrant workers is a lack of information resulting from language barriers. This has been exacerbated even further by the COVID-19 pandemic. The development of ‘MitrThai’ offers a concrete solution by providing a single platform that compiles reliable and timely information in languages understood by migrant workers in Thailand,” said IOM Thailand’s Chief of Mission, a.i., Maria Moita.
“The hub provides information for migrant workers on issues like their rights, responsibilities and protections, immigration rules and regulations, health, and access to social security,” said Adisorn Kerdmongkol, Coordinator of the Migrant Working Group (MWG), a coalition of civil society organizations working in the field of migration and development in Thailand.
Kerdmongkol added, “The information also assists migrants even before making a decision to migrate or re-migrate to Thailand, especially in the time of COVID-19, which will contribute to safer migration, more ethical recruitment and better employment practices.”
The hub is linked to the MWG’s Facebook account which enables two-way communications, where migrant workers can both receive information and send enquiries to the MWG administrator’s team for clarification on information regarding their travel, employment and stay in Thailand as well as referral services like legal counseling and skills training opportunities. One of the highlights for migrant workers is a series of Thai language training videos which allow migrants to watch and learn Thai by themselves, including an accompanying textbook and exercises available for download.
The hub was presented on 18 September to Thailand’s Public-Private Steering Committee on Migrant Employment. It received very positive feedback and support from the Committee and meeting participants from across public and private sectors, who showed strong willingness to contribute information to, and promote, the Mitr Thai website.
“We are delighted to learn of this newly developed migrant information hub and keen to continue collaborating with IOM and partners on enhancing skills and competencies of all workers including migrants in Thailand, by sharing our existing training materials to be translated and uploaded to the hub,” said Jullada Meejul, TPQI’s Deputy Director General.
Employers’ representatives also see the benefits of the Mitr Thai migrant information hub, where knowledge and training materials can be downloaded for in-house training for migrant workers. In the near future, a section of the website dedicated to employers and suppliers could be added to enhance employers’ understanding on migrants’ rights and protection, and encourage good practices on ethical recruitment, decent employment and skills development for migrant workers.
“Thailand is an important market, as well as a production and supply hub for Electrolux,” says Cecilia Nord, Director Responsible Sourcing at Electrolux. “As part of our sustainability approach, we have since long cooperated with our direct suppliers to secure decent and fair working conditions and conduct capacity building activities. With MOVE and the new app, we have together created a powerful information platform that could support many migrant workers with up-to-date information and useful knowledge.”
The Mitr Thai information hub was developed as part of IOM’s Poverty Reduction through Safe Migration, Skills Development and Enhanced Job Placement in Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Thailand (PROMISE) project, made possible through financial support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. IOM, MWG and partners will continue to collaborate to produce and share timely and relevant content as well as enhancement of user experience.