BANGKOK -- Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha signed an agreement on Friday to safeguard the basic rights of migrant workers from Myanmar.
"We both agreed that the Thai private sector and Myanmar migrant workers are highly interdependent," Prayuth said in a joint news conference after the signing at the Government House here.
The document seen by the Nikkei Asian Review states that migrant workers from Myanmar "shall be entitled to the same fair treatment as enjoyed by local workers" and enjoy "protection, rights, and benefits in accordance with the employment contracts, labor laws, and regulations" of Thailand.
The two neighboring countries also agreed to prevent and suppress illegal border-crossing, human trafficking, and illegal employment of foreign workers.
As of May, some 1.4 million migrant workers from Myanmar were employed legally in Thailand, which had an official first-quarter unemployment rate of only 1% -- suggesting an overall labor shortage.
"We will make sure that the rights of our workers here are protected so that we will be able to contribute to the economy of the host country," Suu Kyi told reporters. She also alluded to the labor situation at home, saying: "It is not enough just to say, 'Please come back.' Job creation is of the greatest importance for our country."