The influx of Burmese migrant workers into Thailand began in the early 1990’s due to a lack of work and government sanctions on employment opportunities. With cross border traveling for economic reasons made difficult for Burmese citizens, the struggle of a legal existence outside Myanmar is close to impossible for the ‘average citizen.’ The result of such inhibitions has given rise to a population of ‘undocumented migrant workers’ in Thailand.
For Thailand, economic rewards of migrant labour are highly sought after. Not only do members of authoritative sectors of society play a large part in enabling the entry of illegal migrant workers but also businesses, which require hard labour, welcome Burmese due to their low wage expectations and willingness to partake in jobs, which Thais are not interested in.
The contradiction of Thai government officials launching regular crackdowns on undocumented migrant workers whilst employers continue to hire, gives rise to daily vulnerability amongst the Burmese community.