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  • Differential treatment of foreign workers

    December 2007 - Republic of Korea

    Foreign workers (particularly English teachers) from more developed Western countries and migrant workers from developing Asian countries receive different treatment in South Korea. In 2006, the Korean immigration service issued 29,263 E-2 visas (teaching visas) to foreign workers mostly from the...

  • Repatriation of workers from the Czech Republic

    December 2007 - Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea

    The Czech Interior Ministry said that all North Koreans living and working in the Czech Republic under a controversial labor program will have been sent home by the end of January 2008. According to a report from Radio Free Asia earlier this year, the number of North Koreans working abroad to...

  • HK legal not obliged to screen refugees

    December 2007 - Hong Kong SAR

    Senior counsel, Anderson Chow Ka-ming, the legal counsel for the immigration director has told the High Court that the government is not obliged to screen refugees under international law as domestic law prevails. Since did not ratify the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees, he argued...

  • China to recruit more foreign talent

    December 2007 - China PR

    China plans to recruit more foreign talent to help the nation develop its agriculture, information technology, energy saving, biotechnology and finance sectors. A study by McKinsey, an international management consultancy firm, for example, reckoned that only 10 percent of the 1.6 million young...

  • Number of foreign laborers hits new peak

    December 2007 - Taiwan

    The Director General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics reported that at the end of October, the number of bluecollar foreign workers in Taiwan reached a new peak of 356,510, an increase of 5.8 percent year-on-year. Of that total, 50.8 percent (181,269) work in Taiwan’s industrial...

  • Protecting foreign trainees

    December 2007 - Japan

    Japan’s immigration office said in a statement that under the new guidelines, it is illegal for companies or organizations to confiscate foreign trainees’ passports or alien registration cards. It also forbade companies from controlling trainees’ movements after office hours or transferring...

  • New deadline for amnesty seekers

    December 2007 - Bahrain

    The end of the amnesty program for irregular migrant workers has been extended from 31 December to 31 January 2008. As of 19 December, the number of expatriates who have registered with the Labor Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) has already crossed 110,000. Indian Ambassador Balkrishna Shetty...

  • MPs back Iraq amnesty plan

    December 2007 - Iraq

    On 26 December, the Iraqi cabinet approved a draft law that offers a general pardon to thousands of detainees held in US and Iraqi prisons in a bid to boost national reconciliation. The draft law was then forwarded to parliament. More than 26,000 detainees held on suspicion of backing insurgency...

  • Israel wants to bring citizens home

    December 2007 - Israel

    Israel is trying to persuade hundreds of thousands of its citizens living overseas to return home to coincide with the state’s 60th anniversary next year, the Immigrant Absorption Ministry has announced. The project, dubbed “Coming Home,” will try to lure Israelis living abroad to come back...

  • Kuwait bans hiring of domestic workers from Nepal

    December 2007 - Kuwait

    The Ministry of Interior has banned the recruitment of domestic workers from Nepal because there is no Nepalese embassy to address the problems – mostly non-payment of salaries and employer abuses – encountered by workers. There are some 30,000 Nepalese in Kuwait, mostly employed in the...

  • Hiring of Bangladeshis resumes

    December 2007 - Oman

    Oman’s Manpower Minister, Juma Bin Ali Bin Juma Al Juma said that Oman has lifted a 12-year informal ban on hiring workers from Bangladesh. Around 150,000 Bangladeshis, mostly laborers, are working in Oman now. They all went to Oman before the ban in 1995, which was never formally announced.

  • Expats boost Qatar’s population

    December 2007 - Qatar

    Qatar’s population may soon hit one million as more expatriates flock to the gas-rich country in search of jobs and business opportunities. Tens of thousands of foreign workers arrive in the country every month, according to the Gulf Times. The last census in 2003 put the Qatari population at...

  • Haj overstayers

    December 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    According to official figures, 2.45 million people from 181 nations came for this year’s Haj, which ended on 22 December. Of the total number, 1.71 million came from outside the kingdom. Although no official figures are published, there are overstayers each year who stay behind after the Haj....

  • UAE to host Colombo Process

    December 2007 - United Arab Emirates

    Labor Minister Dr. Ali bin Abdullah Al Kaabi said the UAE will host the Fourth Ministerial Consultations on Overseas Employment and Contractual Labor for Countries of Origin in Asia, known as the Colombo Process, on 21- 22 January 2008. The UAE will also host the second Gulf Forum on Temporary...

  • Immigration boosts Australia’s population

    December 2007 - Australia

    Australia’s population grew by 1.5 percent, adding 315,700 people to its population, which topped 21 million as of 30 June. It is immigration that is driving the population surge. A record net 177,600 people migrated to Australia last financial year, attracted by Australia’s booming job...

  • Migration to Australia continues

    December 2007 - New Zealand

    Statistics New Zealand show that almost 41,000 New Zealanders moved to Australia in the past twelve months, the biggest net exodus in 19 years. In total, 76,000 people permanently left New Zealand. The net outflow to Australia was 27,200 in 2007, the highest level for a November year since 1988....

  • Labor migration based on a just system

    December 2007 - Bangladesh

    Noted economist Prof.Muzaffer Ahmad said there is a need to establish a just system of labor migration to gain from it and protect the rights of the workers who play a significant role in the country’s economic development. Both receiving and sending countries should work towards such a system....

  • Temporary ban on hiring domestic workers stays

    December 2007 - India

    A temporary ban imposed by the Indian government on the recruitment of Indian domestic workers under the age of 30 to Qatar is still in effect. The two governments are discussing its possible withdrawal in view of recent pact which provides that a worker terminated from his or her service (which...

  • Nepal- South Korea labor pact

    December 2007 - Nepal

    Keshar Bahadur Baniya, director general at the Department of Labor and Employment Promotion and Lee Ki-kweon, director general at the Ministry of Labour of Korea, signed an implementation agreement on behalf of their respective governments. The agreement – that incorporates detailed procedures...

  • Pakistani Christian family faces deportation from Britain

    December 2007 - Pakistan

    A family of Christians who say they face persecution in their native Pakistan appealed a British decision to deport them back to their homeland, a legal aid worker said. The family – due to be flown back to Pakistan after having an application for asylum status turned down – was granted...

  • South Asia, a major recipient of remittances

    December 2007 - India

    A World Bank report says a large chunk of this year’s estimated $44 billion remittances from the Gulf states flowed into South Asia, their biggest source of contract workers. Worldwide remittances are expected to reach $318 billion in 2007. Of this amount, remittances from developing countries...

  • Professionals staying put; jobs in Italy

    December 2007 - Sri Lanka

    The return of Indian professionals to their home country suggests more opportunities for Sri Lankan professionals overseas, but few Sri Lankans are leaving. The most recent figures show that 2,678 professionals departed for employment in 2005; 1,619 in 2006; and 1,121 as of September...

  • Foreigners caned for immigration offenses

    December 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    Brunei whipped 68 foreign workers for immigration offenses this year amid mounting efforts to stop irregular migration. The Immigration Department said authorities carried out 1,934 checks on foreigners between January and mid-December, up from 1,658 last year. Brunei toughened its laws in 2004...

  • Anti-human trafficking, sexual exploitation law debated

    December 2007 - Cambodia

    On 18 December, the Cambodian National Assembly debated on provisions of the new law on anti-human trafficking and sexual exploitation. The old law had 10 articles in 1966; the new law has 52 articles and contains more details. According to the new law, criminals could be sentenced to 20 years in...

  • NY couple found guilty of torturing domestic workers

    December 2007 - Indonesia

    Indian-born Mahender Murlidhar Saghani, 51 and his wife, Indonesian-born Varsha Mahender Saghani, 45 were found guilty of forcing two Indonesian women to work as slaves in deplorable conditions in their New York Mansion. They could face forty years in prison.

  • North Koreans take shelter in Swedish Embassy

    December 2007 - Laos

    Two North Korean defectors between 20 and 30 years old, have recently taken shelter at the Swedish Embassy in Vientiane, seeking refuge in a third country, an embassy spokesperson said. The Swedish government has begun contacting relevant governments about their fate.

  • Foreign labor ‘not the solution

    December 2007 - Malaysia

    Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Raak said the country should not be complacent of its reliance on foreign workers and thereby neglecting to enhance automation and technology. Najib said that the use of foreign workers was necessary in the plantation and construction sectors, which were...

  • Jobs in British Columbia

    December 2007 - Philippines

    Philippine Ambassador to Canada Jose Brillantes said that the Philippines and British Columbia (BC) will sign an agreement to improve the system of hiring skilled workers and other professionals through BC’s provincial nominee program. The agreement will open doors for Filipino workers. Job...

  • Singapore’s new citizens and permanent residents

    December 2007 - Singapore

    As of October 2007, Singapore has attracted 13,969 new citizens – much higher than the average of 9,600 in the past five years. Another high is the number of new permanent residents – 53,011 – a 21 percent rise compared with the average of 43,600 in the last five years.

  • Greater Mekong Sub-region fights human trafficking

    December 2007 - Thailand

    Six countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-region adopted an action plan to better tackle human trafficking, forced labor and sexual exploitation. The joint plan, passed at the Fifth Senior Officials meeting of the Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative Against Trafficking (COMMIT) in Beijing, is...

  • Migrant workers, an economic force

    December 2007 - Thailand

    Thailand’s estimated 1.8 million migrant workers earned US$2 billion in wages last year but may have contributed $11 billion, or 6.2 percent, to the gross domestic product, according to the International Labour Organization. The total number of migrants in Thailand rose from about 700,000 in...

  • Deportee testifies against contractor

    December 2007 - Vietnam

    Hoang Van Nimh, a Vietnamese ship jumper who was arrested and deported for working illegally in New Zealand, is back in Vietnam to testify at the trial of Nelson Vietnamese contractor NgocViet Dang, 39. Ngoc denied eight charges of helping or enticing workers to stay in New Zealand illegally....

  • Irregular migrants on the rise

    November 2007 - China PR

    Beijing arrested 83 irregular migrants from Africa, Southeast Asia, South Asia and South America, between 1 October and 22 November, said Li Junzhou of the Beijing General Station of Exit and Entry Frontier Inspection's repatriation department. The figures this year are about two to three times...

  • Family life of migrants and locals

    November 2007 - Hong Kong SAR

    New migrants from the mainland do not have problems with marriage and other aspects of family life despite the former being less advantaged, according to a government survey. However, migrants are having difficulties in handling their children. The Department of Health's family health service...

  • Japan fingerprints foreign visitors

    November 2007 - Japan

    On 20 November, the first day of biometric scanning of foreigners, the Justice Ministry found that fingerprints of five people were identical to those of people on an immigration blacklist. One of them is set to be deported and the others are still under investigation. The revised Immigration...

  • N. Korean defector denied asylum in Russia

    November 2007 - Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea

    The Russian government has refused to grant asylum status to a North Korean defector, Jong Kum-chul. He has launched an appeal and is also seeking a third country to go to, reported Radio Free Asia (RFA). He is currently under protection of the UNHCR.

  • Hotline, programs for migrants

    November 2007 - Republic of Korea

    The Female Immigrants Hotline (1577-1366), set by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, has processed 11,748 consultations since its launch in November 2006. Calls received came from Vietnamese (5,083) spouses, followed by 2,936 Chinese, 1,509 Mongolians, 994 Russians, 380 Filipinos and 296...

  • More foreign white-collar workers

    November 2007 - Taiwan

    A total of 17,021 foreign workers have taken up professional jobs between January and September this year, down by 1.1 percent compared with the corresponding period last year, said an official of the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics. The number of foreign white-collar...

  • Meeting on sustainable repatriation

    November 2007 - Afghanistan

    In the 14th Tripartite Commission meeting in Kabul on 20 November, the governments of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the UNHCR discussed issues related to the voluntary repatriation of Afghans from Pakistan. The worsening security situation in Afghanistan in recent years is constraining the...

  • 80,000 registered with LMRA

    November 2007 - Bahrain

    More than 80,000 expatriates have registered with the Labor Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA). The LMRA has appealed to all companies to visit the LMRA headquarters for registration and cleansing of data by the end of this year. Otherwise, they will not be issued work visas.

  • Iraqis returning home

    November 2007 - Iraq

    Thousands of Iraqis abroad are beginning to return home. Brigadier General Oasim Ata, spokesman for the Baghdad security plan, said 46,030 returned from abroad in October due to the improving security situation. Iraqi officials say most of the returnees come from Syria where an estimated 1.4...

  • 3,000 women trafficked yearly

    November 2007 - Israel

    An estimated 3,000 women were brought to Israel yearly on the false promise of jobs and a better life from the early 1990s to the early years of 2000. The UN identified Israel as one of the main destinations for trafficked women last year. The country continued to be named as an offender in the...

  • Iraqi refugees are well-off

    November 2007 - Jordan

    As many as one million Iraqis (the semi-official figure is 700,000) have fled into Jordan since the US invasion of Iraq four years ago. Many of the Iraqis in Jordan are or were relatively well-off, while most of the poor ones sought refuge in Syria.

  • Supreme Court confirms Filipino's death sentence

    November 2007 - Kuwait

    The Cassation Court (Supreme Court) confirmed on 27 November (not December 27 as earlier reported) the death sentence handed down on Marilou Ranario, a 35-year-old Filipina domestic worker convicted of murdering her Kuwaiti employer. The court ruling is final and cannot be appealed. The ruler,...

  • Foreign domestic workers

    November 2007 - Lebanon

    The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration estimates there are more than 30,000 Filipino workers in Lebanon. Over 8,000 workers were deployed last year alone. Manila imposed a deployment ban to Lebanon last year because of the war with Israel, but announced on 18 November that the...

  • Employer jailed over domestic worker's death

    November 2007 - Qatar

    A Qatari woman, 26, has been sentenced to three years in jail for beating her Sri Lankan domestic worker, 24, to death. The court also ordered the Qatari to pay QR150,000 to the domestic worker's family in Sri Lanka. The domestic worker was admitted to the hospital on 26 October 2005 with severe...

  • New sponsorship system under scrutiny

    November 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    Saudi authorities are looking into a new sponsorship system where private companies, instead of individuals, will bring in foreign workers, said Human Rights Commission President Turki Al-Sudairi.

  • Iraqi govt sponsors repatriation

    November 2007 - Syria

    The Iraqi Embassy in Damascus is arranging free trips for Iraqis in Syria wishing to return home, said Adnan al- Shourifi, the commercial secretary at the Iraqi Embassy in Damascus. The diplomat did not mention how many Iraqis have registered or plan to return home, but the number is expected to...

  • GCCs favor 6-year residency cap

    November 2007 - United Arab Emirates

    Yousuf Jaffar, Legal Adviser in the Ministry of Labor, said the ‘3+3' law (proposing a residency cap of six years for unskilled migrants) was discussed at the ministerial meeting in Riyadh and most Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries were in favor of the law. If the law is passed,...

  • 16 Indonesian rescued in Indian Ocean

    November 2007 - Australia

    A group of 16 Indonesians – three men, three women and 10 children – were rescued by Australian navy ships on 20 November from a sinking wooden boat in the Indian Ocean about 650 km west of Darwin. They had been allegedly sailing from the West Timor island of Roti to Darwin. They were taken...

  • 40,000 leave for Australia

    November 2007 - New Zealand

    Figures from Statistics New Zealand show that more than 40,000 New Zealanders have moved to Australia during the past year, up almost 6,200 compared with the previous year. The total population of the county is estimated at 4.2 million. The country's annual immigration growth fell to a 21-month...

  • Migrant groups will protest new labor law

    November 2007 - Other Pacific

    A coalition of five groups – the Human Dignity Movement, Dekada, the Local 5 Workers Union, the Filipino Contract Workers Association and the Multi-sectoral Overseas Workers Movement – plan to hold a strike to protest the new CNMI labor law and the removal of a provision on non-immigrant...

  • 2007 deployment

    November 2007 - Bangladesh

    As of 14 November, a total of 485,000 Bangladeshis have gone overseas for the purpose of employment this year, according to the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare. Malaysia remains a major destination; an average 900 to 1,000 workers are going to Malaysia. The total number of workers who went...

  • Concern over ill-treatment of Malaysian Indians

    November 2007 - India

    More than 10,000 ethnic Indians staged an anti-government protest on 25 November, expressing anger over policies that allegedly prevent them from getting decent jobs or a good education for their children. They were brought to Malaysia from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu a century ago as...

  • Labor pact with Korea delayed

    November 2007 - Nepal

    Signing the Implementation Agreement with South Korea has been delayed because of a misunderstanding on how to operate the Korean language training institutes for Nepali workers. According to a high-ranking source at the Ministry of Labor, the Nepali government wants to set the criteria for...

  • Remittances up in October

    November 2007 - Pakistan

    Overseas Pakistanis sent home a record US$580.24 million in October, a 41 percent increase over the amount (US $410.61 million) registered for the same month last year.

  • Status of Lankan migrant workers

    November 2007 - Sri Lanka

    The 2006 Annual Report of the Central Bank shows that 1.5 million Sri Lankans were employed abroad at the end of 2006. However, the number of those deployed in 2006 – 201,143 – was 13 percent lower than the 231,290 deployed in 2005. The share of male migrant workers increased to 44 percent in...

  • Employers warned; foreigners detained, jailed

    November 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    The Immigration Law Enforcement Section issued warnings to several employers and fined one after finding discrepancies in the immigration documents of their foreign workers. During the inspection that targeted six areas in Kg Kilanas, Kg Delima, Jangsak and Serasa, 14 foreign workers were...

  • Burmese refugees resettled in US

    November 2007 - Burma

    There has been a surge in Burmese refugees in the Washington, D.C. area and other parts of the US in the past year, said Kakoli Rayof the International Rescue Committee. The US State Department has been resettling Burmese refugees for decades on a case-by-case basis. This year, with the waivers...

  • Tougher penalties for abusive employers

    November 2007 - Malaysia

    The proposed Foreign Worker Act will impose stiffer penalties for employers who abuse their foreign workers. It will also require companies to provide their foreign workers with proper housing and other benefits like bonuses. Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Bakar said the act...

  • OFW deployment declines, more female OFWs

    November 2007 - Philippines

    Preliminary data from Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) show a two percent drop in the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the first 11 months of this year, compared to the same period last year. POEA recorded a deployment of 931,840 workers or some 19,000 lower...

  • Singapore relaxes labor rules

    November 2007 - Singapore

    The Ministry of Manpower announced on 28 November the revision of its labor rules to attract more skilled foreign workers in view of a tight labor market. Unemployment was at its lowest at 1.7 percent in September 2007. Beginning 1 January 2008, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will introduce the...

  • ASEAN, EU vow to protect migrant workers' rights

    November 2007 - Philippines

    The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU) have adopted during the 13th ASEAN Summit in Singapore the Philippine proposal to explore ways of enhancing cooperation in promoting and protecting migrant workers rights, said the Philippine Department of Foreign...

  • Poland and Czech Republic are open to Vietnamese workers

    November 2007 - Vietnam

    Vietnam can now send workers to the Czech Republic and Poland, two countries which need foreign workers, according to Nguyen Ngoc Quynh, Director of the Department for Management of Vietnamese Labors Working Abroad under the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Welfare (MoLISA). Quynh said...

  • World Bank report on women migrants

    November 2007 - World

    The latest report of the World Bank titled "The International Migration of Women" said the total number of international migrants in the world doubled between 1960 and 2005. There were close to 190 million migrants or approximately three percent of the world's population in 2005. The share of...

  • UAE wants more Chinese workers

    November 2007 - China PR

    According to UAE Labor Minister Ali Bin Abdullah Al Kaabi, they will need more than 200,000 Chinese workers in the next two years. Signing a labor deal with China, Kaabi called on Chinese suppliers to provide capable manpower in the fields of health, medicine, tourism, hospitality and construction.

  • HK employers continue to hire Filipino domestic workers

    November 2007 - China PR

    More Filipino domestic workers are being hired in Hong Kong despite the new Philippine government policy that doubles their monthly salary to US$400, according to the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported. The new policy has resulted in some 80 percent drop in the...

  • Higher wages sought for caregivers

    November 2007 - Japan

    Keiko Higuchi, secretary-general of Women’s Association for Better Aging, said that the group has initiated moves to ask the government to raise the wages of foreign caregivers, particularly Filipinos, who will soon be accepted to work in Japan. She explained that caregivers in Japan are...

  • Unauthorized migrant workers detained

    November 2007 - Macau SAR

    According to official statistics, the Macao police have nabbed 736 unauthorized migrant workers in the first nine months, which is a year-on-year rise of 25.1 percent. The Labor Affairs Bureau and the police conducted 684 raids on 792 construction sites and made some 1,400 identification checks...

  • Service sector may hire more foreigners

    November 2007 - Republic of Korea

    Hotels, restaurants and related services in Korea will be able to employ many foreigners for the first time in order to address labor shortage according to the Labor Ministry. Under the new regulation, accommodation services, other than hotels, will be allowed to hire foreign nationals but only...

  • NGO alliance demands citizenship reform

    November 2007 - Taiwan

    An alliance of 37 NGOs asked the Democratic Progressive Party and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidates to promise to abolish the financial threshold for citizenship applications if elected. The National Law requires that immigrant spouses submit proof showing that they have at...

  • UN concerned over growing violence

    November 2007 - Afghanistan

    The UN General Assembly called on Kabul and the international community to rebuild Afghanistan in light of the growing links between Taliban-led violence in Afghanistan and criminal activity spawned by the reconstituted opium trade. In a Germany-sponsored resolution adopted without vote, the...

  • Amnesty outcomes

    November 2007 - Bahrain

    According to General Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Residence (GDNPR) investigation director Hazi Sinan, more than 5,000 unauthorized workers have taken advantage of a nationwide amnesty and left the country or are expected to leave in the coming weeks depending on the availability of...

  • Iraqis are returning home

    November 2007 - Iraq

    Declining violence has prompted Iraqi refugees to pack up and return home. The government recently claimed that some 46,030 people crossed back over the borders in October 2007 alone. But violence continues to crop up, resulting in fresh departures. Syria and Jordan have tightened borders to...

  • NGO aids Bangladeshi workers

    November 2007 - Kuwait

    The Kuwaiti NGO Social Works Society has come forward to help 1,200 homeless Bangladeshi workers in Kuwait. The workers, who used to work as cleaners, were driven out of their rented houses last month as their company failed to the rental for over a year. They were compelled to sleep in schools...

  • Iraqi refugees face arrest and deportation

    November 2007 - Lebanon

    The UNHCR puts the number of Iraqi refugees in Lebanon at 50,000 people, of whom only 8,476 are registered. Nearly 1,800 are children. Iraqi children are unlikely to attend school as they are sent to work in menial jobs by their parents who believe children are less likely than adults to get...

  • GCC’s 11-point program to cut foreign workers

    November 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    Labor ministers of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have approved 11 recommendations to be discussed by Gulf leaders next month in Doha. The primary focus of the recommendations is the recruitment of local GCC workers along with slowly decreasing dependence on foreign labor....

  • Bahraini workers welcome to Qatar

    November 2007 - Qatar

    Qatar welcomes Bahrainis to work in any field they choose and they will be treated on an equal footing with their Qatari brothers, said Crown Prince Shaikh Tameem bin Hamad Al Thani. The Employment Office for Bahraini jobseekers in Qatar opened last week; 155 have registered and more are expected...

  • New minimum pay for Indonesian workers

    November 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    The Indonesian government and labor agencies have agreed to a minimum monthly wage of SR800 (US$214) for new Indonesian migrant workers in the Middle East, in particular Saudi Arabia, which has some three million Indonesian workers.

  • Syria and US agree on processing Iraqi refugees

    November 2007 - Syria

    Syria has agreed to allow US personnel into the country to process Iraqis for admission to the US. The agreement on Iraqi refugees resulted from a trip to Damascus by James Foley, senior US coordinator for Iraqi refugees. In the talks with the Syrians, the US renewed its commitment to provide...

  • Amnesty outcomes

    November 2007 - United Arab Emirates

    A total of 341,958 unauthorized migrant workers across the UAE benefited from the amnesty program according to the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Labor. The amnesty period ended on 4 November 2007. More than 174,000 unauthorized workers had left the UAE with assistance from their various...

  • Few overseas doctors come to Australia

    November 2007 - Australia

    The Overseas and Australian Medical Graduates Association (OAMGA), in a joint statement with the United Indian Associations (UIA) group, said that the small number of overseas doctors seeking to work in Australia was not helping address the existing health crisis. The medical association warns...

  • Good employer, a must in new immigration law

    November 2007 - New Zealand

    The new immigration law currently under review in Parliament must include “good employer” requirements for labor migration. According to Council of Trade Unions (CTU) secretary Carol Beaumont, this will enhance New Zealand’s attractions as a destination country; at the same time, it should...

  • Bills offer possibility for US residency

    November 2007 - Other Pacific

    Saipan’s Fitial administration estimates that 7,300 workers might be eligible for permanent immigration status under the two bills at the US Congress. The number is about a third of the 20,993 nonresidents legally working in the CNMI as of 30 September 2007. Included are 5,462 workers from the...

  • Tk12000-minimum wage for Kuwait-bound workers

    November 2007 - Bangladesh

    Abdul Matin Chowdhury, Secretary of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment and head of the delegation team that visited Kuwait, announced that the government set a monthly minimum wage of Tk12,000 (or KWD50) for Kuwait-bound workers. The move is in response to reports that many...

  • Workers return from Nigeria, Gulf

    November 2007 - India

    Three workers from Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district, who were abducted by a militant group in Nigeria, returned home after the Italian shipping firm paid their ransom. They were among six workers abducted by the Movement for the Emancipation for the Niger Delta. Meanwhile, some of the 74...

  • Resettlement of Bhutanese refugees to US

    November 2007 - Nepal

    The process of resettlement of hundreds of Bhutanese refugees from camps in Nepal to the US has started; the first batch is expected to leave by January. According to US Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration, Ellen R. Sauerbrey, the US government would take 60,000...

  • Curbing women trafficking

    November 2007 - Pakistan

    The Women Development Department, Sindh has ensured substantial allocation for a comprehensive plan to combat women trafficking in the province. According to Sindh’s Minister for Women Development Dr. Saeeda Malik, the project has been incorporated into the province’s Annual Development...

  • Canada welcomes South Asian immigrants

    November 2007 - Pakistan

    Canada is set to welcome around 50,000 immigrants from South Asia this year and a similar number in 2008, if projections from previous years hold true. According to Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the Canadian government believes that immigration plays an important role in...

  • Report documents abuses vs. Sri Lankan domestic workers

    November 2007 - Sri Lanka

    The Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a 131-page report detailing the abuses against Sri Lankan domestic workers in the Middle East. Titled “Exported and Exposed: Abuses Against Sri Lankan Domestic Workers in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Unite Arab Emirates,” the report is based on...

  • Foreigners nabbed, jailed, fined

    November 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    Five Filipinos and one Indonesian were arrested by officers from the Immigration and National Registration Department on 31 October for failing to show immigration passes. Codenamed Ops Bangkar 124/2007, the inspection targeted rental houses and rooms in Kampong Kiarong and Kampong...

  • Indonesian testifies against modern-day slavery

    November 2007 - Indonesia

    An Indonesian domestic worker identified only as Samirah, 51, testified in court on charges of involuntary servitude and other offences against Mahendar Murlidar Sabhani, 51, and Varsha Mahender Sabhani, 45, both US citizens. The couple is accused of bringing Samirah and another Indonesian woman,...

  • Cabinet squabble over control on migrant workers

    November 2007 - Malaysia

    The personal squabble between Home Affairs minister Datuk Seri Nihd Radzi Shiekh Ahmad and Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim masks a need for a tighter policing of migrant workers. Radzi reportedly stated that action would be taken against petrol stations if the duties of foreign...

  • New policy on domestic workers has mixed outcomes

    November 2007 - Philippines

    The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) reported a drop in the deployment of domestic workers from January to October this year. Vic Fernandez, president of the Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc., attributed the decline to the household service workers reforms,...

  • Singapore to recruit Bangladeshi sailors

    November 2007 - Singapore

    NYK Shipmanagement Pte Ltd, Singapore (NYKSM), a Singapore-based ship management firm, will recruit at least 100 from Bangladesh by 2009. They will work for Tokyo-based shipping company, NYK Line. Bangladeshi sailors are well known in the international maritime industry; however, Bangladesh...

  • Migrant workers arrested

    November 2007 - Thailand

    Around 500 Thai police carried out the raid that arrested over 1,000 Burmese migrant workers in Mahachai district in Thailand’s Samut Sakhon province. It is not clear if the 1,000 workers will be deported back to Burma or jailed. Various reports have noted the arrest or detention of Burmese...

  • 70,000 workers deployed abroad

    November 2007 - Vietnam

    According to the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, Vietnam has sent 69,700 workers abroad, including 22,300 females. The total number represents g 86.2 percent of the country’s annual deployment target. Malaysia, Taiwan, the Republic of Korea and Japan remained Vietnam’s...

  • US to tighten religious visa rules

    November 2007 - World

    The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) is proposing to amend regulations pertaining to special immigrant and non-immigrant religious worker (R-1) visa classifications. The Office of Fraud Detection and National Security of the CIS found a 33 percent rate of fraud in the religious...

  • Direct employment center and other changes to be introduced

    October 2007 - Taiwan

    The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) will open a direct employment joint services center in January 2008 with five branch offices as part of efforts to enhance services for migrant workers and protect them from exploitation, said CLA Minister Lu Tien-lin. Foreign domestic workers would be the first...

  • Gov't mulls comprehensive policies for foreigners, dual citizenship

    October 2007 - Republic of Korea

    A meeting of a special committee on policies for foreigners – composed of 17 Cabinet ministers and seven people in the private sector – was held on 23 October to formulate a comprehensive set of policies for foreigners. Committee members agreed to accept more immigrants and step up efforts to...

  • Foreign domestic workers are not allowed

    October 2007 - China PR

    Labor and social security authorities in Shanghai reiterated on 29 October that China does not allow the hiring of foreign domestic workers. The Shanghai Morning Post reported that some local households, largely from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan or rich mainlanders, were found to have hired...

  • Talent-admission scheme under review

    October 2007 - Hong Kong SAR

    The government is currently reviewing the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme launched in June 2006 to attract more young talent and streamline application procedures, said Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee. Lee said the Security Bureau and the Immigration Department will continue to cooperate with...

  • Belgium grants residency to NoKor defector

    October 2007 - Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea

    Belgium has granted permanent residency to a North Korean defector, bringing to nine the number of North Korean defectors granted permanent residency in the country, according to the Radio Free Asia (RFA), a US-based radio station. The North Korean arrived in Belgium in June via China where he...

  • Foreigners to be fingerprinted on arrival

    October 2007 - Japan

    Starting on 20 November, all foreigners aged 16 and over will be fingerprinted and photographed upon their arrival in Japan; this is part of the country's counter-terrorism policy. Foreign residents will also have to undergo the procedure every time they re-enter the country. The Immigration...

  • Debate on 6-year cap on foreign workers

    October 2007 - United Arab Emirates

    Minister of Labor Dr. Ali Bin Abdullah Al Ka'abi said that the UAE supports Bahrain's proposal for a six-year residency cap for unskilled foreign workers and considers adopting it even before a consensus on the issue is reached at the Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in Doha in December. Obaid...

  • Iraqi teenagers heading for Sweden

    October 2007 - Iraq

    Teenage Iraqis, like many others, make the long and dangerous journey to take refuge in Sweden, the only country in Europe that welcomes displaced Iraqis. Swedish Red Cross refugee expert Dick Clomen said a lot of unaccompanied minors come from Iraq to Sweden these days. Said, 16, a resident at a...

  • Crackdown vs. irregular migrants

    October 2007 - Jordan

    The Labor Ministry said it would resume a crackdown against irregular migrant workers late in October. The raids will focus on areas where large numbers of migrant workers are located. Employers recruiting irregular migrant workers will be fined from 100 to 150 Jordanian dinars (US$140-210) per...

  • 51 Darfur asylum seekers released

    October 2007 - Israel

    Israel freed 51 Darfur asylum seekers from the Ketziot Prison compound in the Negev Desert to let them work on collective farms (kibbutzes). They have been granted temporary residency permits. The government decided to grant residency to some 500 Darfur refugees in September after months of...

  • Abuse of domestic workers

    October 2007 - Lebanon

    Siriani, a Sri Lankan domestic worker, has sought refuge in a shelter in Beirut run by Caritas with dozens of runaway African and Asian domestic workers who are awaiting their unpaid wages and a ticket home. Siriani was locked up and cut off from her family for nine years without being paid for...

  • Migrante rallies behind OFW on death row

    October 2007 - Kuwait

    Migrante International asked the public to send letters of appeal to the Kuwaiti head of state, Sheikh Sabah Al- Ahmad Al-Jaber, to save the life of overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Marilou Ranario, 35. Ranario was sentenced to death for murdering her female employer, Najat Mahmoud Faraj Mobarak....

  • Immigration discussed at regional level

    October 2007 - Qatar

    A two-day meeting of the directors-general of immigration departments of the Gulf countries began in Doha on 22 October. The meeting aims to integrate and upgrade immigration procedures and services in the region. The directorsgeneral explored mechanisms to unify the immigration systems and...

  • 6-year cap for unskilled workers under discussion

    October 2007 - United Arab Emirates

    The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries may enforce a six-year residency cap on unskilled migrant workers in the region. The GCC ministers of labor will discuss a proposal at a meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in November. They will also explore the possibility of enacting a law for domestic...

  • New rules for hiring domestic workers

    October 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    The Ministry of Labor has approved changes in the recruitment of domestic workers. Sponsors can now apply for replacement visas after getting final exit visas stamped on the passports of their current domestic workers or drivers. The employers must also provide documents to prove their financial...

  • 3,500 leave Bahrain under amnesty

    October 2007 - Bahrain

    According to the General Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Residence, only 3,500 irregular migrants have availed of the amnesty and left the country. Tens of thousands of irregular migrants are believed to live and work in the country. According to the supreme amnesty committee, the Labor...

  • Changing ethnic face of Austra

    October 2007 - Australia

    A great migrant inflow during the Howard administration has changed the country's ethnic face. More than one in five Australians are now born abroad, with many migrants coming from China, India, Korea and Sri Lanka. The two largest overseas-born groups are still those from the UK (19 percent) and...

  • Foreign students on the rise

    October 2007 - New Zealand

    The latest figures from Education New Zealand indicate that the number of foreign students is on the rise. The industry had stabilized since it attracted students from countries other than China – from Europe, South America andthe Middle East. Education New Zealand spokesman Stuart Buong said...

  • Guam senator calls for collaboration with CNMI

    October 2007 - Other Pacific

    Sen. Judith P. Guthertz, author of the Guam resolution against the proposed US takeover of the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) immigration, expressed her desire for local governments (Guam and the CNMI) to work together on many important issues that will adversely affect their...

  • Overseas Lankans remit US$3.4 B

    October 2007 - Sri Lanka

    Overseas Sri Lankans sent home US$3.4 billion in 2006, according to a report released by the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development. The report was co-authored by the Inter-American Development Bank. In related news, increasing remittances have helped the country sustain better growth...

  • Fleeing Tibetans shot at by Chinese soldiers

    October 2007 - Tibet

    Tibetans trying to flee the country to Nepal have been shot at by Chinese soldiers on 18 October and taken into Chinese custody, said the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet. Some 2,500 people continue to escape the country every year despite the exhausting journey across the...

  • 60 deportees questioned

    October 2007 - Pakistan

    The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is interrogating over 60 people deported by Turkey and then arrested by the FIA Gujranwala passport cell from Islamabad. Most deportees are from Gujranwala, Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin districts. They claimed agents extorted hundreds of thousands of rupees...

  • NRI remittance trends

    October 2007 - India

    The number of Indian workers going abroad surged from some 279,000 in 2001 to 549,000 in 2005, according to the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA). The number of those exempted from emigration clearance also increased from 398,000 in 2001 to 465,000 in 2005. MOIA figures show more than 82...

  • Deployment of Bangladeshi workers at record high

    October 2007 - Bangladesh

    The Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry said the number of Bangladeshis going abroad for employment is at a record high this year, in spite of Malaysia's recent banning of Bangladeshi workers. A total of 428,000 workers had left the country as of 17 October and more than 200,000...

  • Gov't seeks NRN support

    October 2007 - Nepal

    Speaking at a plenary session of the third Non-Resident Nepalese (NRN) Global Conference, Ramesh Lekhak, Minister of State for Labor and Transport Management, asked the NRNs to help the government explore new labor markets and sign bilateral labor pacts with host countries. He also stressed that...

  • Entry test for domestic workers to remain

    October 2007 - Singapore

    The government will continue to require foreign domestic workers to take the entry test because it has helped reduce injuries and accidents, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower Hawazi Daipi. The number of injuries and deaths has decreased from an annual average of 37 over the last...

  • OFW deployment down, remittances up

    October 2007 - Philippines

    Preliminary POEA figures show that a total of 865,117 – both land-based and sea-based – overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were deployed abroad in the first 10 months of this year, 2.5 percent down from the 887,645 Filipinos deployed during the same period last year. Local recruiters industry...

  • US grants waiver to some Hmong

    October 2007 - Laos

    The Bush administration decided to grant a waiver to Hmong who provided material support to terrorist groups, thereby easing the plight of some Hmong who have been ensnared by federal immigration law. The Department of State and Homeland Security announced that the law's provisions will not apply...

  • Nationwide check on records of foreign workers

    October 2007 - Malaysia

    The Labor Department will check on company records of foreign workers from November. Employers not having complete data (e.g., the names of their employees, travel document particulars, and salaries) or those found exploiting their foreign workers could be fined RM10,000 for each worker in...

  • More than 1,200 Burmese rounded up

    October 2007 - Thailand

    Thai police carried out a raid operation and arrested more than 1,200 Burmese migrant workers without work permit. Kyaw Kyaw, a Burmese worker in Maha Chiang, said that the Thai authorities conducted the operation because of rumors that at least 100,000 Burmese have entered the country in the...

  • Children recruited to join army

    October 2007 - Burma

    In the report entitled "Sold to be Soldiers: The Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers in Burma" the Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that Burmese children are being recruited into the army. Amid high desertion rates and a lack of volunteers, the junta has tolerated this practice and failed to...

  • Foreigners arrested, detained, jailed and fined

    October 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    The Bandar Magistrate's Court sentenced a 45-year-old Thai national, Phaitoon Muentrai, to one year in jail and one stroke of the cane. Muentrai was found guilty of living on the earnings of a 34-year-old Thai woman who is working as a prostitute. Another two Thai nationals, Wilai Kantha, 57, and...

  • Illegal marriage arrangement caught

    October 2007 - Vietnam

    The Ho Chi Minh Police discovered almost 60 Vietnamese women waiting for two Korean men at a café in Go Vap district. Four Vietnamese were detained for investigation and three Koreans were charged with entry violations and accordingly punished. These illegal agents reportedly go to the rural areas...

  • Migrants send home US$1.5 billion

    October 2007 - Indonesia

    Indonesian migrant workers continue to contribute to the country's economy by sending money home. According to Bank Indonesia, they remitted US$1.5 billion during the second quarter of this year, a 5.4 percent increase from the same period last year. Of the total amount, some 73 percent or US$1.1...

  • Migrants sent home US$300 B in 2006

    October 2007 - World

    Some 150 million migrants across the world sent home more than US$301 billion in 2006 that surpassed foreign development aid and foreign direct investment (US$271), according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Although...

  • Proposed bill prohibits for-profit marriage brokers

    September 2007 - Taiwan

    A new bill proposes to disallow matchmaking agencies in Taiwan to arrange international marriages for a profit. They can provide services only as non-profit organizations. They will be prohibited from posting ads, registering under a matchmaking business license and charging fees.

  • Foreign teachers unpaid

    September 2007 - Japan

    Japanese language company Nova failed to pay its foreign teachers for more than 12 days. It refused to comment on the reason for the delay in payments. The company employs some 7,000 foreign teachers, including 5,000 Australians. Some Australian teachers refuse to work until they get paid. In...

  • State scholars should return home

    September 2007 - China PR

    The Education Ministry informed students who obtain advanced degrees abroad on state-funded scholarships should return to China and work for at least two years. State-funded scholars should sign a contract with such provisions as banning activities that will damage China's interests and security...

  • Anti-discrimination bill proposed

    September 2007 - Republic of Korea

    The Ministry of Justice endorses an anti-discrimination bill seeking an end to discrimination on the basis of race, sex and nationality. Once the National Assembly approves the bill, victims can petition the National Human Rights Commission and have courts issue orders to stop discrimination or...

  • More promotion required to attract foreign talents

    September 2007 - Hong Kong SAR

    Authorities need to increase the promotion of the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme to attract more applicants, scheme advisory committee member Lai Kam-tong said on 20 September. The scheme aims to bring in as many as 1,000 talents a year, but only 238 (188 from the mainland and 50 from other...

  • Amnesty-related outcomes

    September 2007 - United Arab Emirates

    The Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department (DNRD) have processed some 232,635 applications of amnesty seekers until 23 September, according to Brigadier Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director of DNRD. They have regularized the status of 80,260 irregular migrants and issued 152,375 exit passes....

  • Iraqis required to have entry visa

    September 2007 - Syria

    The Foreign Ministry announced that Syria had decided to postpone the implementation of the regulation requiring entry visa from Iraqis until the Muslim feast of Eid Al Fitr. The new measure was introduced because of the burden Syrian citizens are shouldering to provide for Iraqis' daily needs...

  • Saudi Arabia to recruit Nepalese domestic workers

    September 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    Saudi Arabia has decided to recruit domestic workers from Nepal following long delays and difficulties in getting workers from Indonesia and the Philippines. The chairman of the national recruitment committee at the Council of the Saudi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sa'ad Al Baddah, said that...

  • New sponsorship law to be issued soon

    September 2007 - Qatar

    The new law on sponsorship and residency will be issued soon, said Dr. Ali bin Simaikh Al Merri, Secretary General of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC). The NHRC has submitted its recommendations regarding the law. Al Marri said that some 70 percent of the complaints they received were...

  • Oman and India to sign MOU

    September 2007 - Oman

    Oman and India are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on labor, employment and manpower in December or early next year, said a senior Omani official. The MOU will focus on the interests of Indian workers in Oman and will help authorities regulate recruitment, sponsorship and...

  • US human rights advocate condemns sponsorship system

    September 2007 - Kuwait

    During his visit to Kuwait, Mark Lagon, director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, criticized the sponsorship laws of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states restricting migrant workers' movements, which puts them at the mercy of their employers. Employers have the right...

  • Remaining Palestinian refugees leave for Brazil

    September 2007 - Jordan

    More than a hundred people in the Ruweished refugee camp have been granted asylum in Brazil and the last batch left for Brazil on 20 September. The camp will be closed by mid-October. Ruweished has been home to a group of refugees from Iraq for more than four years, many of whom are Palestinians....

  • Employer charged with caregiver abuse

    September 2007 - Israel

    The Industry Trade and Employment Ministry prohibited Susan Amoyal of Rishon Letzion, confined to a wheelchair, from hiring a caregiver for a year. The immigration police charged Amoyal with abuse, false imprisonment and illegal employment. Her caregiver, Galagedarage, said she had to work in the...

  • Outcomes of amnesty program

    September 2007 - Bahrain

    More than 70 percent (6,681) of the 9,340 amnesty seekers who submitted their applications between 1 August and 23 September opted to stay on to work in Bahrain. According to Labor Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) chief executive Ali Radhi, the ministry received 7,133 applications from...

  • 38 Pakistanis arrested

    September 2007 - Iran

    Iran's border security forces nabbed 38 Pakistanis on the Pakistan-Iran border and handed them over to the Taftan police. They had entered the country without authentic travel documents. The Taftan police would hand them over to the Federal Investigation Agency after investigation.

  • Estimates of refugees, IDPs

    September 2007 - Iraq

    According to the UNHCR, more than two million Iraqis have been forced to take refuge in neighboring countries: 1.2 million in Syria; 750,000 in Jordan; 100,000 in Egypt; 54,000 in Iran; 40,000 in Lebanon; 10,000 in Turkey; and 200,000 in various Gulf countries. Another two million are internally...

  • Net annual migration gain falls

    September 2007 - New Zealand

    New Zealand recorded a net gain of 750 long-term and permanent migrants in August. However, Citigroup economist Annette Beacher said the emigration of skilled New Zealanders is a concern. New Zealanders going to Australia to settle increased to 25,940 in August, the largest annual net outflow...

  • Immigrants boost population growth

    September 2007 - Australia

    An influx of migrants contributed to Australia's population growth. The latest demographic figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate that 20.9 million people lived in Australia in March 2007, up by 307,100 compared to the total number a year ago. Fifty-four percent of that growth...

  • List of overstays helps enforcement

    September 2007 - Other Pacific

    The CNMI Department of Labor published the names of 195 overstayers, mostly from China and the Philippines. As of 1 September 2007, at least 74 or about 38 percent of the 195 overstayers in the CNMI are Filipinos. The CNMI is home to some 25,000 Filipino workers and their children. The Fitial...

  • Measures to better protect overseas Indian workers

    September 2007 - India

    Ten Indian ambassadors from six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, Jordan, Libya, Yemen and Malaysia attended a meeting called by the Ministry of Overseas Indians Affairs (MOIA). The meeting was held in the light of growing concerns about the rising complaints by domestic workers working...

  • Shortage of skilled labor

    September 2007 - Sri Lanka

    Many note that there is a shortage of skilled workers in Sri Lanka because many have moved to other countries in search of higher salaries. For instance, the fiber glass industry is facing a labor shortage mainly because workers stay on for six months and head off for the Middle East where they...

  • Nepalese migrants face problems abroad

    September 2007 - Nepal

    Minister of State for Labor and Transport Management, Ramesh Lekhak, said Nepalese working in foreign countries face several problems because unskilled workers have been illegally going abroad for work. Speaking at a meeting on ‘Migrant Nepali workers and their rights' organized by the Civic...

  • US$489 million sent home in August

    September 2007 - Pakistan

    Figures of the State Bank show that overseas Pakistanis sent some US$985.20 million during the first two months (July and August 2007) of the current fiscal, up 21.35 percent increase over the remittances (US$173.35) sent in the same period last year. In August alone, Pakistanis remitted...

  • South Asians nabbed for illegal entry in Greece

    September 2007 - Pakistan

    Greek border guards have nabbed 69 foreigners and seven suspected smugglers attempting to enter Greece from Turkey. The arrestees, aged between 25 and 45, were from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iraq and Sri Lanka. They had crossed the Evros River – the border between Turkey and northeast...

  • Dhaka calls on KL to act against recruiters

    September 2007 - Bangladesh

    Bangladesh lodged a formal complaint with the Malaysian authorities seeking firm action against Malaysian company PTC Asia Pacific for failing to provide proper jobs and facilities to Bangladeshi recruits. A team led by Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Secretary Abdul Matin Chowdhury...

  • ASEAN urged to have a common framework on migrant workers' rights

    September 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    Sinapan Samy Dorai, convener of the task force on ASEAN migrant workers, urged ASEAN members to agree on a common labor framework in handling migrant workers. Following the declaration on migrant workers rights of the 12th ASEAN Summit in Cebu in January 2007, the task force has been carrying out...

  • Licenses of 3 agencies revoked

    September 2007 - Singapore

    The Ministry of Manpower revoked the licenses of three employment agencies – Bushra Employment Agency, CM Manpower Center Pte Ltd and Angel Maids Agency – for illegally placing foreign domestic workers without valid permits. The ministry has revoked the licenses of four employment agencies...

  • Dip in deployment levels

    September 2007 - Philippines

    The deployment of Filipino workers has decreased from 812,512 in 2006 to 787,264 as of 20 September this year. In the land-based sector, a total of 605,974 Filipinos were deployed in the first nine months of this year, compared to 615,350 during the same period last year. Deployment of seafarers...

  • Bangladeshis stranded at KL airport

    September 2007 - Malaysia

    Some 2,000 Bangladeshis are forced to spend several nights on the floor of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport car park, while waiting for their employers to pick them up. Officials say that agents and employers sometimes show up late to save costs by transporting migrant workers arriving on...

  • Monitoring institutions to protect migrant workers

    September 2007 - Indonesia

    The National Agency for the Placement and Protection of Overseas Labor (BNP2TKI) has suggested the establishment of monitoring institutions in some countries, especially Malaysia, in efforts to minimize the abuse of Indonesian migrant workers. Agency chairman Jumhur Hidayat said that the...

  • US visa ban on junta leaders

    September 2007 - Burma

    In response to the Burmese regime's continued crackdown on innocent civilians and human rights abuses, the US government imposed visa bans on more than 30 government and military officials and their families, said State Department spokesman Tom Casey.

  • 22,000 deployed to Korea since 2004

    September 2007 - Vietnam

    Vietnam has sent more than 22,000 workers to South Korea since the introduction of the Employment Permit System (EPS). In October, the first batch of Vietnamese workers deployed to Korea under the EPS will return home after their contracts terminate, according to the Overseas Worker Management...

  • Reduced pre-migration expenses for Israel-bound workers

    September 2007 - Thailand

    The Thai Labor Ministry signed with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) an agreement designed to substantially reduce the fees Thai workers pay to work in Israel. The IOM has historical connections with Israel; it helped bring Holocaust survivors and Middle Eastern Jews to Israel....

  • Foreigners arrested, detained, jailed and fined

    September 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    Immigration officers inspected some 25 foreign workers from Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and India during a routine operation in Tutong. Officers carried out inspections construction sites and retail stores. Following an operation by the BSB Law Enforcement Section, Department of Immigration...

  • Asian children trafficked to the UK

    September 2007 - World

    Hundreds of young children from Southeast Asia are being trafficked to the UK and forced to work in cannabis production, said Christine Beddoe, director of the campaign group End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purpose (Ecpat). Figures obtained by...

  • Voting rights for overseas Koreans pushed

    September 2007 - Republic of Korea

    Presidential nominee Lee Myung-bak of the Grand National Party is pushing for legislation to allow all Korean citizens abroad the right to vote in the country's major elections. According to Lee, it is not right that overseas Koreans are being deprived of their voting right whereas foreign...

  • China enhances labor cooperation service

    September 2007 - China PR

    The Ministry of Commerce announced plans to improve the country's labor cooperation system in the light of the increasing number of Chinese workers leaving for overseas employment. The ministry has set up a telephone hotline service to handle queries regarding China's policies on foreign labor...

  • HK accepts 238 foreign professionals

    September 2007 - Hong Kong SAR

    According to Security secretary Ambrose Lee, Hong Kong has approved some 238 applications from various foreign professionals under the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme launched in 2006. The scheme is intended to attract talented and quality migrants from overseas and Mainland China to live and...

  • More than 350,000 foreigners working in Taiwan

    September 2007 - Taiwan

    According to data from the Directorate General of Budget Accounting and Statistics, a total of 350,100 foreign laborers were working in Taiwan as of the end of June 2007. This is 4.1 percent higher than the figure recorded in the same period last year. The tallies indicated that 176,000 foreign...

  • Foreign trainee program under review

    September 2007 - Japan

    The Chiba District Court sentenced Chinese farm trainee, Cui Hongyi, 27, to 17 years in prison last July for killing an agricultural employee and injuring two others, at a pig farm in Kisarazu, Chiba Prefecture. Before the incident, Cui had complained of low pay and severe work conditions. His...

  • Syria to restrict entry of Iraqi passport holders

    September 2007 - Syria

    The Syrian government has decided to impose strict visa requirements on Iraqi nationals effective 10 September. Under the new rules, Iraqi passport holders, except businessmen and academics, would be barred from entering Syria. However, there is no indication that Syria would force Iraqi refugees...

  • No place to go for newly displaced Iraqis

    September 2007 - Iraq

    According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the restrictions in 11 out of 18 Iraqi governorates have made it increasingly difficult for Iraqis fleeing violence and lawlessness to find refuge within the country. Many of the country's more than 2.2 million IDPs are unable to...

  • No plan reduce expat population

    September 2007 - Qatar

    Dr. Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, secretary general of the General Secretariat for Development Planning (GSDP), has denied media reports that the agency had anything to do with the alleged ratification of a strategy to reduce the percentage of expatriates in Qatar from the current 88 percent to 50 by 2025....

  • Irregular migrants avail of amnesty

    September 2007 - United Arab Emirates

    More than 278,715 irregular migrant workers have taken advantage of the UAE's three-month amnesty offer to either regularize their stay or leave the country, said Brigadier Mohammad Salem al-Khayili, head of the Naturalization and Residency Department in Abu Dhabi. In Dubai, the number of...

  • Appeal to rebuild Palestinian refugee camp

    September 2007 - Lebanon

    Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora has appealed to the international community on 10 September for funds to help rebuild a Palestinian refugee camp largely destroyed by three months of fighting between government troops and Islamist militants. The Nahr al-Bared camp used to be home to some...

  • RP Embassy seeks probe on domestic worker's death

    September 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    Hotuf authorities are investigating the death of Filipina domestic worker, Liza Tagud Bayubay, 44, who was initially admitted at the King Faisal Hospital on 17 July in a state of coma. Bayubay, who died a week later, allegedly had multiple scars and wounds, burns all over her limbs, back and...

  • Israel to grant citizenship to Darfur refugees

    September 2007 - Israel

    Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit announced on 5 September that Israel would grant citizenship to some of the estimated 300-500 Muslim refugees from Darfur, Sudan who are currently in the country. Sheetrit said he would coordinate with the UNHCR in setting a quota of refugees to be naturalized. The...

  • Sponsorship system to be scrapped

    September 2007 - Bahrain

    Expatriate workers and human rights groups welcomed the Labor Minister's announcement on the possibility of abolishing the sponsorship system. Although this issue has been a regular topic in talks among Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries for some time no actual steps have so far been taken...

  • Senate OKs citizenship test

    September 2007 - Australia

    The new Australian citizenship test proposed by the federal government requiring applicants to correctly answer questions about the country's history, geography and traditions, was recently approved by the Senate with some minor government amendments. The bill will now be sent back to the lower...

  • New seasonal job scheme welcomed

    September 2007 - New Zealand

    Immigration Minister David Cunliffe lauded the new transitional scheme that would allow foreign workers to stay longer in New Zealand if they are working in the horticulture or viticulture industry. The new scheme, which was launched earlier this year, was meant to make it easier to hire foreign...

  • CNMI to conduct new immigration checks on incoming foreign workers

    September 2007 - Other Pacific

    According to CNMI Immigration director Melvin Grey, all foreign workers entering the country for the first time would be required to fill out the "authorization for entry" questionnaire in front of immigration officers at the airport. The move is part of local government efforts to curb labor and...

  • Pakistanis top HK's list of irregular immigrants

    September 2007 - Pakistan

    Hong Kong Assistant Director for Enforcement and Litigation, Eric K.K. Chan, told reporters at the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad on 13 September that Pakistanis top the list of irregular migrants in the former British colony. According to Chan, some 215 Pakistani irregular migrants entered Hong...

  • US resettlement for Bhutanese refugees

    September 2007 - Nepal

    According to David Derthick of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) it has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nepalese government that would allow some 60,000 Bhutanese refugees in Nepal to resettle in the United States once they receive approval from the UNHCR....

  • France offers jobs to Sri Lankan migrant workers

    September 2007 - Sri Lanka

    France has allegedly offered to enhance job opportunities for Sri Lankan professionals and skilled workers and for students in the IT and natural sciences fields. This matter was taken up during a meeting held in Paris between Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama and French Minister...

  • Training program for overseas migrant workers needed

    September 2007 - Bangladesh

    Malaysian High Commissioner in Dhaka Abdul Malek Bin Abdul Aziz called on the Bangladeshi government to establish a training institute for overseas-bound workers. This would allow Bangladesh to export more skilled and trained workers to the international labor market and raise its earnings from...

  • India mulls amendments to Emigration Act

    September 2007 - India

    Indian authorities are currently reviewing a proposal to amend the Emigration Act in order to provide better protection to those seeking overseas employment. Under the said amendment, recruiting agents would be made fully responsible for the welfare of the workers they deploy abroad. The new Act...

  • Employers to buy health insurance for foreign employees

    September 2007 - Singapore

    Starting 1 January 2008, employers of foreign workers are required to buy medical insurance as healthcare subsidies for foreign workers will be withdrawn. The coverage of at least S$5,000 per year will be for both inpatient care and day surgery during his or her stay in Singapore. The new ruling...

  • Malaysia has 1.87 million migrant workers

    September 2007 - Malaysia

    As of December 2006, there were a total of 1.87 million foreign workers in the country, 3.8 percent more than the 1.8 million cap set by the government. The Immigration Department said that adhering to the ceiling was not feasible because of the booming economy and labor shortages in certain...

  • 361 Indonesian runaways in 2006

    September 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    Indonesian Ambassador to Brunei Herijanto Soeprapto revealed a total of 361 cases of runaway workers were recorded last year. He said most workers ran away from their employers because of non- or late payment of salaries. Of the 361 cases, 228 cases have been resolved, whereas the remaining 133...

  • Govt determined to bring back Hmong

    September 2007 - Laos

    Brig-Gen Buasieng Champaphan, co-chairman of the Thai-Lao general border sub-committee, asked the international community not to interfere in talks between Laos and Thailand on returning Hmong at Huay Ham Khao camp in Phetchabun's Khao Kho district, Thailand to Laos. He said the 8,000 Hmong at...

  • Call to amend labor laws to protect migrant workers

    September 2007 - Indonesia

    Labor and human rights activists demanded that the country's labor laws should include transparent information on overseas employment and should have provisions pertaining to workers' rights. Anis Hidayah, executive director of Migrant Care, said migrant workers were not provided with information...

  • Human trafficking racket smashed

    September 2007 - Cambodia

    Police smashed an international human trafficking ring, which has allegedly been responsible for transporting hundreds of South Asians to developed countries, like Australia and those in Europe, through Cambodia. The syndicate, which established a network in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Kampot and...

  • Vietnam to scrap limit on foreign workers

    September 2007 - Vietnam

    The Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) drafted the decree seeking to scrap the existing three percent cap on the number of foreign employees at any organization. However, only three managerial posts can be filled up by foreigners at foreign businesses. The ministry...

  • Illegal job brokers deceive workers

    September 2007 - Thailand

    The Employment Department noted that South Korea and Bahrain have record numbers of Thai workers deceived by illegal job brokers. Director-general Manoon Punyakariyakorn said most deceived workers had headed to South Korea to work in factories and to Bahrain to work in massage parlors.

  • Dip in deployment of OFWs

    September 2007 - Philippines

    According to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, 640,808 Filipinos found jobs abroad in the first seven months of this year, 3.7 percent less than a year ago. Nonetheless, Labor Secretary Arturo Brion earlier mentioned the deployment of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the new...

  • US to impose tighter immigration measures

    September 2007 - World

    Washington is set to impose tighter immigration and customs measures in a bid to prevent the entry of terrorists into the United States. Beginning November, foreign travelers to the US must provide 10 digital fingerprints upon arrival, instead of the current two. Moreover, personal data of all...

  • Thailand, Vietnam condemned for visa denials

    August 2007 - Taiwan

    In the wake of the decision by Thailand and Vietnam to deny visas to Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Yu Shyi-kun, the ruling DPP party urged the Cabinet to review investment, labor importation and trade ties with the two countries. After a discussion, the DPP Central Standing Committee...

  • Foreign residents exceed 1 M

    August 2007 - Republic of Korea

    The number of foreigners living in Korea has exceeded a million for the first time. According to the Ministry of Justice, a total of 1,000,254 foreigners live in the country, accounting for two percent of the total population of 49 million, up 15 percent from last year. The major groups are: (1)...

  • Migrant scheme attracts only 238 talents in a year

    August 2007 - Hong Kong SAR

    The Quality Migrant Admission Scheme aimed at attracting up to 1,000 talented foreigners a year in order to boost its labor force has brought in only 238 people in its first year. They include business people, accountants, outstanding sports people and musicians. Almost all are from Mainland...

  • Japanese expats flock to Asia

    August 2007 - Japan

    In 2006, for the first time, Asia became the most popular region of destination of long-term expatriate Japanese. The Foreign Ministry has been conducting a survey on Japanese living abroad since 1968. A total of 267,064 expatriate Japanese were staying in Asia for at least three months as of 1...

  • Consular protection center to better protect nationals abroad

    August 2007 - China PR

    The Foreign Ministry launched a consular protection center on 16 August to better protect the interests and rights of Chinese nationals abroad. The center focuses on preventive measures, such as knowledge promotion, with the aid of media and the Internet. Statistics from the Foreign Ministry show...

  • Trafficking prevalent in Asia and the Pacific

    August 2007 - World

    The International Labor Organization (ILO) reports that some 12.3 million people are exploited in forced labor or sexual exploitation at any point in time. In addition, an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 are trafficked across the world each year. Human trafficking is the third top criminal industry...

  • Foreigners deported

    August 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    According to recent statistics released by the Law Enforcement Section, Department of Immigration and National Registration, a total of 1,251 foreigners have been deported from the country over the last eight months, which recorded the highest number of deportations. They were involved in several...

  • Intermarriage information centers to be launched

    August 2007 - Vietnam

    Women's union plans to establish 40 information and legal advice centers across the country to teach prospective brides about the risks of intermarriages arranged via illegal match-makers. The issue became highlighted after one Vietnamese woman, Huynh Mai, 19, was killed by her Korean husband....

  • ASEAN members urged to protect migrant workers' rights

    August 2007 - Indonesia

    The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) approved the resolution on protection and promotion of migrant workers' rights proposed by Indonesia and Thailand, urging member states to take comprehensive legislative and administrative measures to enhance the protection and promotion of migrant...

  • Call for orderly migration

    August 2007 - Thailand

    Thai employers have been filling jobs in their fishing fleets, seafood-processing plants, rice mills, textile factories, construction sites, farms and sawmills with migrants who have illegally entered the country over the last 10 years. The situation has allowed unscrupulous Thai employers to...

  • New citizens, permanent residents increased

    August 2007 - Singapore

    The latest figures from the National Population Secretariat show that 13,209 foreigners were granted Singaporean citizenship in 2006, up from 12,900 in 2005. The number of permanent residents also increased from 52,300 to 57,300 last year.

  • 11 Filipinos in Iraq not trafficked

    August 2007 - Philippines

    Returning from Iraq, Roy Cimatu confirmed that only 11 Filipinos flew from Kuwait to Baghdad, contrary to testimony of Rory Mayberry before the US House Oversight Committee on 26 July. Mayberry claimed that he was asked to escort 51 Filipinos on a flight from Kuwait to Baghdad in March 2006. The...

  • Employer charged for death of Indonesian domestic worker

    August 2007 - Malaysia

    A Malaysian woman, Cheng Pei Ee, 29, has been charged with murdering her Indonesian domestic worker, Kunarsih, 24. Kunarsih's bruised body was found on 14 August. If found guilty, Cheng could face the death penalty. Her husband Goo Eng Keng, 34, was accused of trying to cover up the crime, but...

  • Govt urged to ratify ILO conventions

    August 2007 - Indonesia

    The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has called on the government to commit to two international conventions – ILO Conventions 97 and 143 – to better protect its nationals. The ILO's labor standards director Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry said the government should regulate and monitor...

  • Child-safe tourism promoted

    August 2007 - Cambodia

    The Ministry of Tourism has introduced documents to promote child-safe tourism to prevent trafficking of women and children for labor and sexual exploitation. The documents include a training manual, implementation principles and a strategic plan for policy makers. Owners of hotels, guesthouses...

  • Call for voluntary HIV testing

    August 2007 - Sri Lanka

    The 8th International Conference on AIDS in the Asia-Pacific held in Colombo called attention to the trend of mandatory testing of migrant workers for HIV/AIDS. CARAM Asia said that mandatory testing systems for HIV are discriminatory. It also violates a person's privacy, confidentiality and is...

  • Human smugglers nabbed

    August 2007 - Pakistan

    A raid by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) led to the arrest of four most wanted human smugglers; the raid also seized 23 passports. Rauf Ahmad, nazim of a union council in Sialkot district, was running a travel agency and sending people abroad on forged documents, said Gujranwala Passport...

  • Nepal opens office to send workers to Korea

    August 2007 - Nepal

    The government is opening an Employment Permit System (EPS) office to handle the deployment of Nepali workers to South Korea. Keshar Bahadur Baniya, director general of the Department of Labor and Employment, said they will initially set up computer networks and develop a website of the office to...

  • New restrictions in deploying domestic workers

    August 2007 - India

    Starting from 1 September, India will impose tighter regulations to govern domestic workers (including butlers, cooks and drivers) amid serious abuses by employers and by the police forces, especially in Saudi Arabia. Under the new regulations, employers in 18 countries, including Middle Eastern...

  • New thrusts in labor migration policy

    August 2007 - Bangladesh

    The government is considering developing a mechanism to allow people from the poverty-stricken north and northwestern regions (from which fewer workers migrate) more access to overseas jobs. Most migrant workers are from only a few areas like Comilla, Noakhali, Chittagong, Dhaka and Sylhet. It is...

  • Two federation bills being redrafted

    August 2007 - Other Pacific

    Almost a thousand Filipinos had a meeting with a key US government official on 18 August to find out when either of two bills pending in the US Congress – S. 1634 and H.R. 3079 – would be passed and enacted into law. The two bills aim to allow more than 8,000 long-term foreign workers in the...

  • Highest net outflow since 2001

    August 2007 - New Zealand

    A total of 9,000 people entered New Zealand as long-term arrivals in the year to July. On the other hand, there was a net outflow of 29,500 New Zealand citizens in the year ending in July, the highest since a net outflow of 40,800 in 2001. In the July 2007 year, non-New Zealand citizens recorded...

  • 457visa holders abused

    August 2007 - Australia

    Foreign workers are exploited under the 457 skilled visa scheme, which intends to bring in foreign workers for a period of three months to four years in response labor shortage in Australia. According to the Fairfax reports, employers are breaching the conditions of the visas, e.g., placing...

  • Syria will require visas from Iraqis

    August 2007 - Syria

    Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallim has informed his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari that effective September, Syria will start requiring visas from Iraqis wanting to enter the country for trade, economic or educational purposes. Previously, Syria was the only country in the region that...

  • UAE grants amnesty seekers additional 2-month grace period

    August 2007 - United Arab Emirates

    Interior Minister Lt. Gen. Saif ibn Zayed Al-Nahyan announced the granting of an additional period of two months to enable amnesty seekers to complete all procedures for leaving the country. The two-month grace period would end on 3 November. Al Nahyan clarified that the extension applies only to...

  • Study says expat workers burden Qatar

    August 2007 - Qatar

    According to a study on urban development and internal migration conducted by the Population Research Permanent Committee, expatriate workers are proving to be more of a burden than a benefit to the country. The study revealed that the cost of bringing the foreign workers to the country far...

  • Stiffer measures for hiring Indian domestic workers

    August 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    According to P. Balachandran, second secretary at the Indian Embassy in Riyadh, India will tighten restrictions on the recruitment of household service workers, including domestic workers, butlers, cooks and drivers, starting 1 September. The new measure imposes a mandatory $400 monthly salary...

  • Civilians leave refugee camp

    August 2007 - Lebanon

    Lebanese forces made preparations on 26 August for a final assault on Islamist militants holed up in the Nahr al- Bared camp. Two days earlier, following a ceasefire announced by the Lebanese army, some 63 civilians, including 25 women and 38 children who are wives and children of Fatah al-Islam...

  • Unrestricted 3-month visit visas

    August 2007 - Kuwait

    Acting Assistant Undersecretary for Citizenship and Passport Affairs Thabet Al Muhanna announced that the government has decided to grant three-month visit visas to all categories of people, including unskilled laborers. According to Al Muhanna, these visas can later be converted into dependents'...

  • Irregular migrant workers nabbed, deported

    August 2007 - Jordan

    According to a report from Jordan's Labor and Interior Ministries, the country has detained a total of 4,399 undocumented guest workers since April this year and deported some 1,204 irregular migrant workers. The ministries launched a crackdown on foreign workers with irregular status in...

  • Iranian workers need to improve English skills

    August 2007 - Iran

    The head of the Association of Private Employment Agencies said one of the main problems facing aspiring Iranian migrant workers is their poor English. For instance, the UAE has high demands for medical experts, but Iranian professionals lose out to Indian and Pakistani medical experts since a...

  • Israel deports 50 Sudanese refugees to Egypt

    August 2007 - Israel

    On 19August, the Israeli government deported to Egypt some 50 African refugees, most of whom are believed to be from the Darfur region of western Sudan. The office of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert defended the deportation saying it was in accordance with Israeli and international law while...

  • Number of Iraqi refugees continues to rise: UNHCR

    August 2007 - Iraq

    According to UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis, some 4.2 million Iraqis have been displaced due to continued violence in Iraq and this figure is rising. The monthly rate of displacement is now more than 60,000, up from 50,000, Pagonis added. The UNHCR appealed to international donors to provide...

  • Afghan IDPs may surge

    August 2007 - Afghanistan

    Walter Kaelin, special representative of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, warned against the possible significant increase in the displacement of Afghans from their homes if the fighting in Afghanistan continues at its current pace. The UN envoy urged foreign and local forces...

  • Expats seek to regularize status

    August 2007 - Bahrain

    On 1-23 August, the Labor Ministry received requests to regularize the stay of some 4,177 foreign workers. Of this number, 3,068 had their work permits renewed while 982 applications for local transfer were approved. The ministry rejected 127 applications.

  • Labor force in Asia to grow by 200-M: ILO

    August 2007 - World

    According to a report released by the International Labor Organization (ILO) on 14 August, Asia's labor force would grow by 200 million between now and 2015. This means the region is under pressure to improve the quality of available jobs and ensure that the benefits of future economic growth...

  • Stricter measures to stop abuse of visa system in Bahrain

    August 2007 - Thailand

    A senior Thai Embassy official expressed concerns that some Thai nationals misuse the visa system in Bahrain by staying on after their visas expire. According to an agreement between Thailand and Bahrain, Thais can obtain a visit visa on arrival in Bahrain and stay for 15 days. Close to 3,000...

  • Western Union to assist Vietnamese migrant workers

    August 2007 - Vietnam

    The Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 2 August with international money-transfer firm Western Union to assist Vietnamese migrant workers. Under the agreement, Western Union and the Department of Overseas Labor will provide foreign language...

  • Foreigners nabbed, sentenced, deported

    August 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    Triyono, a 24-year-old Indonesian from Kg Mentiri, was reported to have run away from his employers. He has been missing since 20 June 2006. On 7 August, the Bandar Magistrate's Court has sentenced Rica Rachilee Pascua Rondina, a 31-year-old Filipina clerk at Syarikat Komala Tyre Motor Sdn Bhd,...

  • Ceremony for new citizens

    August 2007 - Singapore

    Singapore will hold its first National Citizenship Ceremony on 18 August where all new citizens will receive their pink identity cards. Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng said the ceremony would be the first step towards having a "Citizenship Day" to encourage...

  • Team investigates smuggling of Filipinos to Iraq

    August 2007 - Philippines

    A fact finding team tasked to verify the alleged smuggling of 51 Filipinos to Iraq is currently in Kuwait. Special envoy to the Middle East Roy Cimatu, leads the team. The Filipinos workers were allegedly smuggled by First Kuwait General Trading and Contracting Co. and forced to work as laborers...

  • ASEAN to protect migrant workers

    August 2007 - Indonesia

    Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) adopted two documents during the 40th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMN) in Manila, the Philippines on 30 July. The two documents are "the Statement on the Establishment of the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the...

  • Malaysia reluctant to be legally bound to protect migrant workers

    August 2007 - Malaysia

    Malaysia, hosting a large number of irregular migrants from neighboring countries, refused to sign a follow-through document that would have upgraded the Declaration promoting the welfare of migrant workers (signed by ASEAN heads of state during the leaders' summit in Cebu in January) to a more...

  • 500 Burmese illegally cross border a day

    August 2007 - Burma

    As of 2006, only 880,000 Burmese migrants registered with Thai labor authorities. Thailand continues to carry out raid operations, detain irregular migrants and then transport some hundreds daily to the border town. All undocumented migrant workers caught by Thai authorities are directed into a...

  • Indonesians deported from Malaysia

    August 2007 - Indonesia

    Malaysia has deported a total of some 900 irregular Indonesian workers through the Entikong checkpoint in West Kalimantan since the beginning of this year. According to Indonesia's consul general in Malaysia, Bambang Prionggo, these workers mostly entered the country without work permits. Close...

  • Family of convicted domestic worker prays for her release

    August 2007 - Sri Lanka

    Mohammed Sultan Nafeek had gone to Saudi Arabia with the Sri Lankan Deputy Foreign Minister in a bid to seek clemency for his daughter, Rizana. The 17-year old domestic worker had been convicted in Saudi Arabia for the death of her four-month old ward and is now on death row. However, the...

  • Displacement, deaths due to floods

    August 2007 - Bangladesh

    The massive flooding across South Asia triggered by heavy monsoon rains early this month has displaced close to 25 million people and killed 1,400 others. Worst affected by the calamity were Northern India, Bangladesh and Nepal. Aid workers had a hard time reaching some of the displaced because...

  • Turkey deports more Pakistani irregular migrants

    August 2007 - Pakistan

    A group of 45 Pakistani irregular migrants who had been deported from Turkey arrived at the Islamabad International Airport on 7 August. They were turned over to the Federal Investigation Agency's passport cell for further questioning. Two days earlier, a similar batch of 46 Pakistani irregular...

  • Trafficking, a factor in the spread of HIV/AIDS

    August 2007 - Nepal

    According to a study published on 1 August in the Journal of American Medical Association, the trafficking of women across South Asia for prostitution could be a factor in the spread of HIV/AIDS in the region. According to the study, 40 percent of Nepali women trafficked to India and subsequently...

  • Local recruiting agencies using illegal money channels

    August 2007 - Bangladesh

    While other businesses are allowed to open letters of credit (LCs) for importing products, there is no parallel mechanism for the business of sending workers overseas despite the fact that the latter also requires foreign currency to secure job demands and explore new markets. Hence many...

  • New restrictions on the emigration of Indian women

    August 2007 - India

    The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) announced that effective September, all women with passports marked "Emigration Clearance Required" (ECR) will not be allowed to work in countries that have not signed a bilateral labor welfare agreement with India. Previously, this restriction...

  • NZ urged to adopt migrant integration testing

    August 2007 - New Zealand

    New Zealand First associate immigration spokesperson, Peter Brown, has asked the government to adopt Australia's migrant integration criteria for would-be migrants to determine how well they can integrate into New Zealand society. Brown said it is time for the country to tighten its own...

  • Citizenship applicants to face tough tests

    August 2007 - Australia

    The House of Representatives passed the Australian Citizenship Bill early this month. Under this bill, citizenship applicants would be required to sit a test consisting of 20 multiple choice questions designed to assess knowledge of Australian history, culture and values and a basic knowledge of...

  • 200 guest workers needed in American Samoa

    August 2007 - Other Pacific

    The tuna cannery plant, Samoa Packing, in American Samoa has advertised for some 200 migrant workers to be hired under the country's guest worker permit program. The new recruits would allegedly plug the firm's problem with high employee turnover rate and replace the students hired during summer...

  • NGOs denounce Greece's action on Iraqi refugees

    August 2007 - Iraq

    Sixteen Greek NGOs denounced Greece's failure to help displaced Iraqis and have launched a campaign to stop the government from redirecting Iraqi refugees to Turkey. Greece has the lowest refugee acceptance rate in Europe. According to Amnesty International and Helsinki Watch in Turkey, refugees...

  • Iran slows down expulsion of unregistered Afghan refugees

    August 2007 - Iran

    According to Judy Cheng Hopkins of the UNHCR, thousands of Afghan refugees are still being deported by Iran each week although the pace has now slowed down compared to the initial expulsions. Since the crackdown started on 21 April, Iran has expelled some 160,000 unregistered Afghan refugees. The...

  • Committee to oversee amnesty campaign

    August 2007 - Bahrain

    Labor Minister Dr. Majeed bin Mohsin Al Alawi has ordered the establishment of a Supreme General Amnesty Supervisory Committee to formulate policies, facilitate procedures and monitor the progress of the ongoing amnesty process. The committee formed early this month is also tasked with updating...

  • UNHCR appeals for more funds to assist Afghan refugees

    August 2007 - Afghanistan

    The UNHCR has appealed for additional funds totaling $10 million to enable the agency to support the return and reintegration of some 400,000 Afghans returning home from Pakistan. With the extra $15 million the UNHCR has requested last April, its entire Afghanistan Operation now totals...

  • Reasons for migrant workers' irregular status

    August 2007 - United Arab Emirates

    According to senior labor ministry officials, the foremost reason why foreign migrant workers in the UAE assume irregular status is their lack of knowledge about the country's labor law and the rights it guarantees for them. Many workers are allegedly unaware about the law's provisions concerning...

  • More Iraqi refugees seeking refuge in Syria

    August 2007 - Syria

    Syria's ambassador to the United Nations Basahr Ja'afari declared that his country is facing extreme pressure as it is forced to deal with the nearly two million refugees from Iraq, most of whom are in a desperate situation. At present Iraqi refugees in Syria constitute more than 10 percent of...

  • Irregular migrants nabbed

    August 2007 - Turkey

    Some 89 irregular migrants, including 38 Iraqis, 11 Palestinians, 30 Afghans and 10 Pakistanis, were arrested by security forces recently along with three suspected Turkish traffickers. Authorities first discovered the Iraqis and Palestinians aboard a truck in Esenyurt. They were allegedly headed...

  • Makkah to launch crackdown against irregular immigrants

    August 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    Saudi authorities are planning a year-long crackdown against irregular immigrants living and working in the Makkah area. The new Makkah Emir Prince Khaled al-Faisal has directed the social committee of the regional council to draft the mechanics for the immigration campaign. Some two million...

  • Sponsor burdened by repatriating remains of dead worker

    August 2007 - Qatar

    Nepalese worker, Bishnu Prasad Bagali, 23, hanged himself on a tree inside his sponsor's farm in the Al Shamal area on 25 July. According to his sponsor, he noticed nothing unusual about Bagali except that he sometimes spoke to himself. However, he later complained about the burden Bagali's...

  • Orientation program for foreign workers' employers

    August 2007 - Israel

    Last June and July, the Foreign Workers Branch in the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry implemented an orientation program for employers of foreign migrant workers. The program was initiated to explain and clarify various labor issues, including wage benefits, insurance coverage, working hours...

  • Kuwaiti firm denies deceiving Filipino workers

    August 2007 - Kuwait

    The First Kuwaiti General Trading and Contracting Co. denied the allegations of two former American employees that it had taken Filipino workers to Iraq without their knowledge for the construction of the new US Embassy there. According to the testimony of Roy Mayberry before the US Congress, he...

  • Rights group seeks whereabouts of trafficking victims

    August 2007 - Taiwan

    The Chinese Association for Human Rights has called on authorities to reveal the whereabouts of some 81 foreigners – 65 Indonesians and 16 Vietnamese nationals – who are believed to be human trafficking victims. The police confiscated the passports belonging to these individuals whom they...

  • New crackdown vs. undocumented migrants

    August 2007 - Republic of Korea

    The Ministry of Justice announced plans to conduct a massive crackdown against undocumented migrants starting August until the end of this year. The crackdown will target some 224,000 undocumented migrant workers believed to be in the country. Companies found employing irregular migrant workers...

  • More foreign students are working in Japan

    August 2007 - Japan

    According to the Justice Ministry's Immigration Bureau, the number of foreign students who have found jobs in the country has reached a record high of 8,272 in 2006, up 40 percent from the 5,878 the year before. More than 90 percent of these foreign students who have found jobs in Japan after...

  • Detainees to stage hunger strike over impending deportation

    August 2007 - Hong Kong SAR

    Some 12 foreign-born ex-convicts being held at the Castle Peak Bay Immigration Center are set to go on a hunger strike beginning 1 August to protest their continued detention and impending deportation. The detainees, who come from Nepal, India and Pakistan, have allegedly completed their jail...

  • Tension between Italians and Chinese migrant workers in Italy

    August 2007 - China PR

    There have been reports of a growing tension between Chinese migrant workers and Italians in the textile manufacturing industry in various cities across Italy. In Prato, Italy's main textile manufacturing city, nearly 15 percent of the population are Chinese, many of them irregular migrants....

  • US may use rule on errant employers

    July 2007 - World

    The US government seeks to implement a rule that gives immigration authorities more power to punish companies hiring irregular migrants. Companies knowingly hiring irregular immigrants can face prosecution and fines of up to US$10,000 per worker for repeat violations. The rule under consideration...

  • Better wages may attract more migrant workers

    July 2007 - Malaysia

    Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn said that the RM900 monthly minimum wage and RM300 cost of living allowance (Cola) advocated by the Malaysian Trades Union Congress would lead to a surge in migrant workers. He added that workers, like those in plantation and manufacturing sectors,...

  • Taiwanese, Vietnamese jailed for brokering illegal marriages

    July 2007 - Vietnam

    A Taiwanese and five Vietnamese were sentenced to five to 12 years in jail for trafficking more than 126 Vietnamese women, mostly from the southwestern region, to Malaysia between April 2005 and June 2006. Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court was told the victims were sold to elderly and disabled...

  • Filipinos, Thai, Indonesians, Indians jailed for overstaying

    July 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    A Thai national was arrested in a raid carried out by the Department of Immigration and National Registration’s Enforcement Section. His wife was allegedly found hiding in a cupboard. The enforcement team found the couple to be living together without a valid marriage document. The case has...

  • Dispute over labor export settled

    July 2007 - Indonesia

    The Manpower and Transmigration Ministry and the National Agency for the Placement and Protection of Overseas Labor (BNP2TKI) settled a dispute over labor export. Secretary-general Harry Heriawan Saleh said the ministry will focus on making policies and regulations to enforce the 2004 Labor...

  • Senator seeks probe of trafficking of Filipino workers to Iraq

    July 2007 - Philippines

    Senator Manuel Roxas II called on the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to verify the reports concerning some 51 Filipinos trafficked into Iraq from Kuwait to work at the construction of the US Embassy in Baghdad. The reports came from the...

  • Govt urged to take action against human traffickers

    July 2007 - Thailand

    Ekkaluck Lumchumkhae, chief of the Mirror Foundation’s missing persons’ information center, called for more action to protect job seekers from being lured by human trafficking gangs into slavery on fishing trawlers. Ekkaluck said that Thai workers, mostly from the North and the Northeast,...

  • ASEAN adopts two documents on migrant workers’ rights

    July 2007 - Philippines

    The 40th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting has adopted on 30 July two documents to enhance migrant workers’ welfare. The two documents include the “Statement on the Establishment of the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion Rights of Migrant...

  • Singaporean students urged to return home to work

    July 2007 - Singapore

    Manpower Minister Ng Eng Hen urged Singaporeans studying overseas to return home to pursue their careers. About 40 percent of the 150,000 Singaporeans living, working and studying abroad are in their twenties. Singapore has a total population of 4.35 million, including an estimated 850,000...

  • Identity documents issued to Rohingyas

    July 2007 - Burma

    The UNHCR issued an identity document (Temporary Registration Certificate) to some 35,000 Rohingyas as the culmination of its five-year effort to improve the human rights situation of Rohingyas in the country. Some 200,000 persons in the hamlet in northern Rakhine state are in need of identity...

  • Clemency plea for domestic worker in Saudi Arabia

    July 2007 - Sri Lanka

    Rizana Nafeek, a domestic worker in Saudi Arabia, could be decapitated for the death of a baby boy she was taking care of. According to the Sri Lankan Embassy, the infant died on 22 May 2005 while she was bottle-feeding him. Nafeek, however, claimed her confession was obtained under pressure....

  • Measures to stop irregular migration

    July 2007 - Bangladesh

    The government has taken several measures to stop irregular migration and protect Bangladeshi expatriates. Among others, this includes modernizing the passport issuing process and strengthening Bangladeshi missions abroad, said Local Government and Rural Development Adviser Mohammad Anwarul Iqbal...

  • Skills upgrade program for workers seeking overseas jobs

    July 2007 - India

    The government will introduce in August a countrywide skills upgrade program for Indian workers seeking overseas employment. The program aims at improving the image of Indian workers abroad, making them more competitive in an international working environment and promoting more job opportunities...

  • Registration of Afghans

    July 2007 - Pakistan

    There were 2,153,088 Afghans living in Pakistan between October 2006 and February 2007, according to the Registration of Afghans in the Pakistan 2007 report. The data compiled by UNHCR and the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) shows Afghans in Pakistan represent 1.4 percent of...

  • Tongan seasonal workers arrive

    July 2007 - New Zealand

    A total of 20 Tongans recruited under the new Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) labor scheme arrived in Marlborough on 20 July. The scheme is intended to meet the labor demands of the viticulture and horticulture sectors and to provide employment and economic stability to Pacific Island states....

  • Tougher screening process for permanent immigrants

    July 2007 - Australia

    The government has tightened “character" requirements for visa applicants, asking more detailed information about political associations and family connections. Under the new rules, applicants for all visas should complete a sixpage form asking questions about the applicants’ parents, spouse...

  • Crackdown on irregulars after amnesty

    July 2007 - United Arab Emirates

    Irregular migrant workers who stay on after 2 September, the amnesty deadline, will face imprisonment, fines and permanent re-entry ban, said Brigadier Mohammad Ghurair Al Rumaithi, deputy general-director of the Naturalization and Residency Departments (NRD) in the Ministry of Interior (MOI)....

  • Sponsor’s approval required for visa transfer

    July 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    Migrant workers are required to present the approval of their sponsors (known as a “No Objection Certificate" or NOC) for visa transfer. The Ministry of Labor said the transfers could be allowed without the NOC only if the sponsor delays legal action against the worker, for humanitarian...

  • Deaths, detentions and deportations of OFWs

    July 2007 - Qatar

    As many as 37 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have died in Qatar in the first half of this year, of whom 26 succumbed to cardiac arrest, according to an official of the Philippine Embassy in Doha. In May and June, a total of 10 Filipinos died of cardiac arrest. The rising deaths due to cardiac...

  • Crewmen are still missing

    July 2007 - Oman

    As of 16 July, the Omani coastguards are still searching for the 11 missing crewmen – eight Filipinos and four South Koreans – of the MV Orchid Sun that sank off Oman on 12 July. The body of a seaman recovered on 14 July (another article says 15 July) was identified as a Filipino, Elbert...

  • 23 Koreans abducted, one dead

    July 2007 - Afghanistan

    Afghan authorities demanded on 29 July the release of 16 women among 22 Korean Christian aid workers held by the Taliban. Most of them are reportedly sick after 11 days in captivity. Twenty-three South Koreans had been abducted on 19 July while traveling on the highway between Kabul and Kandahar...

  • 5-month amnesty announced

    July 2007 - Bahrain

    The government has declared a five-month amnesty to thousands of irregular migrant workers, which runs from 1 August to 31 December. Employers who hired irregular migrant workers would have a choice to regularize them or send them home without penalty. Domestic workers will be included in the...

  • RP appeals OFW’s death sentence

    July 2007 - Kuwait

    Philippine Embassy officials in Kuwait, led by Ambassador to Kuwait Ricardo Endaya and the defense team, appealed the ruling of a Kuwait court that sentenced a Filipino domestic worker to death for murdering her employer’s 6-year-old son on 6 January. May Vecina had been working in Kuwait for...

  • Jordan hosts conference on Iraqi refugees

    July 2007 - Jordan

    Jordan, Syria and Egypt had a meeting in Amman on 26 July to discuss ways to help these countries cope with the burdens of hosting Iraqi refugees. The UNHCR has warned that Syria’s and Jordan’s healthcare, education and housing resources are severely strained due to the continued inflows of...

  • Low wages in Gulf deter Indian workers

    July 2007 - Bahrain

    Indian Ambassador to Bahrain, Balkrishna Shetty, said the Gulf has become a less attractive destination for Indian job seekers, attributing it to low salaries in the Gulf and attractive wages offered to skilled workers back home. Moreover, the steady increase in the value of Indian rupee is also...

  • US dismisses allegations of mistreatment of migrant workers

    July 2007 - Iraq

    At the 26 July US Congress hearing, top State Department officials dismissed allegations that migrant workers involved in the construction of a new US Embassy complex in Baghdad were mistreated. Nonetheless, Inspector General Howard Krongard acknowledged that recruiters in foreign countries may...

  • CLA implements changes

    July 2007 - Taiwan

    The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) said the quota for foreigners working in metal and heat-processing manufacturing, rubber processing, dyeing and printing industries will be increased from the current 15 percent to 20 percent of a company’s total workforce under a new management system. In...

  • Korean culture camp for migrant workers’ children

    July 2007 - Republic of Korea

    The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education will organize a three-day Korean culture camp for the children of migrant workers. The event aims to help the children adapt to schools and Korean culture and society. Some 80 children will join the camp; they will learn Korean history and experience...

  • Exploited trainees sue company

    July 2007 - Japan

    Le Thi Kim, a Vietnamese trainee, and her colleagues sued TMC, a subcontractor for Tokai Craft, which makes parts for Toyota and Nissan, and other parties for 69 million yen in damages. Almost half of Le’s salary was put into a bank account she could not access and her passport was taken from...

  • Macao depends on migrant workers

    July 2007 - Macau SAR

    According to figures from the Labor Affairs Bureau, the number of migrant workers reached 73,460 at the end of May, accounting for almost 25 percent of the total labor force (301.100). Those from the Chinese mainland comprise 55.5 percent of the migrant workers.

  • Nationwide forum tackles child trafficking

    July 2007 - China PR

    The first nationwide forum to raise awareness of child trafficking victims was held in Beijing on 26 July. In June, many children were found being forced to work in kilns and mines. They were kidnapped and transported to the kilns by human traffickers. Zhao Shaohua, the All China Women’s...

  • Forum stresses migrants’ protection

    July 2007 - World

    In his address before the delegates to the Global Forum on Migration and Development in Brussels, Belgium on 10 July, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon stressed the crucial role played by low-skilled migrant workers in the success of global economies but noted that they continue to be...

  • 4 suspected North Koreans seek asylum in Danish embassy

    July 2007 - Vietnam

    Three women and one man, believed to be North Koreans, have sought asylum in the Danish embassy in Vietnam, a Danish diplomat said. He added that embassy officials were confirming their nationality. North Korean defectors have reportedly sought asylum at the French, Swedish and Thai embassies in...

  • Drop in domestic worker abuse cases noted

    July 2007 - Singapore

    The number of reported domestic worker abuse cases has decreased in the past 10 years, from more than 150 cases to less 50 in 2006. Statistics from the Ministry of Manpower showed that the number of employers charged in court or given police warnings for domestic worker abuse dropped from 157 in...

  • OFW deployment drops

    July 2007 - Philippines

    Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Administrator Rosalinda Baldoz said the total number of deployed land-based and sea-based workers decreased from 607,639 in 2006 to 564,320 in 2007 or a negative growth rate of 7.1 percent. A total of 433,869 land-based and 130,451 sea-based...

  • Govt seeking justice for abused Indonesian workers

    July 2007 - Indonesia

    A US federal appeals court ruled that wealthy couple – Varsha Mahender Sabhnani, 35, and Mahender Murlidhar Sabhnaniand, 51 – accused of enslaving two Indonesian domestic workers, could be released on bail. In Malaysia, the police released a woman accused of abusing Indonesian domestic...

  • Expats charged with coup plot released in US

    July 2007 - Laos

    US federal judge Dale A. Drozd ordered the release of Gen.Vang Pao and other expatriates accused of plotting a coup against the government of Laos. The judge approved Vang Pao’s release on US$1.5-million bond on the grounds that he did not pose any danger or flight risk. Thousands of Hmong who...

  • Steps to improve conditions of migrant workers

    July 2007 - Thailand

    A migrant workers’ conference was held recently as a follow-up to the ASEAN declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, signed by the regional association’s members in January. This document called for improving migrant worker rights and welfare and taking...

  • Foreigners inspected during operation

    July 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    Belait Immigration Enforcement personnel inspected some 61 Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian, Bangladeshi and Filipino workers on 12 July in an operation targeting construction sites in Kuala Belait, Seria, Lumut and Sungai Liang. A special pass was issued to an Indonesian worker to submit to further...

  • Call for better legal protection of domestic workers

    July 2007 - Malaysia

    Following the scandalous incident involving Indonesian domestic worker Ceriyati Dapin, Malaysian authorities have taken actions to prevent similar abuses. The government set up a 24-hour hotline for domestic workers and suspended the licenses of nearly 20 placement agencies until they settled...

  • Nepal, UAE to sign labor agreement

    July 2007 - Nepal

    Nepal and the UAE are set to sign a labor agreement on 3 July that is expected to facilitate legal recognition and protection to Nepali workers in the Gulf country. UAE Labor Minister Dr. Ali bin Abdullah Al Kaabi arrived in Kathmandu for the signing ceremony. Before winding his three-day visit...

  • Certified work contracts mandatory for jobseekers to the Maldives

    July 2007 - Sri Lanka

    According to the Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare, workers seeking Maldivian jobs are required to obtain certified work contracts approved by the Sri Lankan Embassy in the Maldives and registered with the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau.

  • Drastic decline in immigrant registration

    July 2007 - Pakistan

    A report from the National Aliens Registration Authority (NARA) revealed a sudden drop in the registration of immigrants over the past few years. According to the agency, only about 60,000 adult irregular immigrants and some 45,000 minors registered with NARA while merely 1,000 have secured work...

  • Developed countries urged not to erect barriers to regular migration

    July 2007 - India

    In his speech before the Global Forum on Migration and Development held recently in Brussels, Manjiv Singh Puri, joint secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs, called on developed countries to stop putting up unnecessary barriers to regular migration as these could only lead to negative...

  • Bangladesh mulls setting up of third refugee camp

    July 2007 - Bangladesh

    The UNHCR and the Bangladeshi government are running two camps in Cox Bazar where some 21,000 Rohingya refugees have been living since they fled Burma 16 years ago. Although the government stopped sheltering Burmese refugees in July 2005 this did not stop new arrivals from Burma. Unlike the...

  • NZ reduces immigration targets

    July 2007 - New Zealand

    Immigration Minister David Cunliffe announced on 5 July that the government was lowering its resident migrant targets for the coming year in a bid to reduce pressure on inflation and house prices. He said the New Zealand Residence Program for 2007-08 would target 45,000 to 50,000 migrants, down...

  • Population boom hits Australia

    July 2007 - Australia

    According to a spokesperson for Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews, Australia is expected to meet its target of up to 148,000 new immigrants for 2006-07. The high immigrant influx, coupled with a rising birth rate, has caused the country’s population to soar to a record high of over 21 million....

  • Bangladeshi workers refuse to call off strike

    July 2007 - Kuwait

    Some 1,300 Bangladeshi workers, who have been on strike for over a month, firmly refused to return to work unless the management of the cleaning company that employs them gives in to their demand. The workers are seeking payment of their back wages for the past eight months and renewal of their...

  • Irregular immigrants rush to avail of amnesty

    July 2007 - United Arab Emirates

    With the 1 September amnesty deadline fast approaching, hundreds of thousands of irregular immigrants, majority of them Asians, are racing against time to regularize their status or leave the UAE to avoid jail time. According to the Labor Ministry, the number of clandestine immigrants in the...

  • Refugees evacuated from camp as fighting continues

    July 2007 - Lebanon

    Lebanese troops and Fatah al-Islam militants in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon have been locked in battle since 20 May, trapping some 400 Palestinian civilians in the process. Apart from safety concerns, the Palestinian refugees stranded at the camp are facing problems of low...

  • Crackdown vs. Sudanese refugees

    July 2007 - Israel

    African irregular migrants, mostly from Sudan, who allegedly sneaked into Israel through the Egyptian border, face being sent back to Egypt as part of the government’s plan to deal with their growing numbers. Israel has ordered its army to turn back unauthorized migrants seeking to cross the...

  • Human trafficking report criticized

    July 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    The Human Rights Commission (HRC) criticized the US State Department’s 7th Annual Trafficking in Persons Report as “too generalized, contains mistakes and ignores the positive steps the kingdom has taken to combat human trafficking." According to HRC chairperson Turki Al-Sudairi, contrary to...

  • Qatar’s foreign labor force expected to rise further

    July 2007 - Qatar

    According to projections by the Permanent Population Committee, Qatar would need to generate some 586,000 new jobs, mostly manual, over the next eight years if it wants to maintain its current economic growth rate. As such, the country could expect its foreign workforce to exceed 900,000 by 2015....

  • Filipino, South Korean crew members of sunken ship still missing

    July 2007 - Oman

    Four Filipino seafarers from the sunken South Korean freighter, Orchid Sun, were rescued in the Arabian Sea off Oman on 13 July and are currently undergoing treatment in a Muscat hospital. However, 13 other crew members, including nine Filipinos and four South Koreans, remain missing. The...

  • UNHCR appeals for more funds to help Iraqi refugees

    July 2007 - Iraq

    The UNHCR has reiterated its appeal for funds to help the large number of Iraqi refugees who were forced to flee their homes due to mounting violence in their homeland. The refugee agency has raised its annual appeal for funds to $123 million to help about two million internally displaced Iraqis...

  • Human trafficking still a problem in Bahrain

    July 2007 - Bahrain

    Bahrain was recently cited by the US State Department as one of 164 countries considered the worst human trafficking offenders for allegedly failing to initiate the basic steps to combating the transnational crime. Among the key reasons for human trafficking, according to some embassy officials...

  • China mulls promotion of labor export to ease population pressure

    July 2007 - China PR

    According to Yu Xuejin, spokesperson for the National Population and Family Planning Commission, preventing new births is not the only way to cut the country’s population. China may consider easing population pressure by encouraging labor export. The senior official cited the case of the...

  • Scheme to facilitate foreign workers’ re-entry

    July 2007 - Republic of Korea

    The Korean government has adopted a scheme to facilitate the re-entry of foreign workers from 12 countries who are employed in the country’s manufacturing and other sectors under the Employment Permit System. Under the scheme, Korean employers can issue certificates of re-employment to their...

  • Exclusion of household workers from minimum wage hike denounced

    July 2007 - Taiwan

    Foreign workers and activists from some 10 local and foreign labor groups demonstrated in front of the office of the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) on 1 July, the first day of implementation of the new minimum wage hike. The protestors urged the CLA to reconsider its decision to exclude household...

  • Foreign residents more inclined to interact with locals: survey

    July 2007 - Japan

    According to a survey conducted by the Land Ministry and other government agencies, 56 percent of foreigners residing in the Kanto region expressed eagerness to interact with their community compared with only 10 percent of Japanese respondents. This finding was attributed to the lack of...

  • Iraq war fuels increase in refugees

    June 2007 - World

    The UNHCR reported that the number of refugees reached 9.9 million at the end of 2006 largely due to the war in Iraq. The 2006 figures are up 14 percent from the 8.7 million in 2005 and are the highest since 2002 when there were 10.6 million refugees. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio...

  • 500 irregular migrants arrested

    June 2007 - Thailand

    A police raid on 22 June of a construction site in Bang Phli district, Samut Prakan led to the arrest of more than 500 irregular migrant workers from Laos, Burma and Cambodia. They are now waiting for deportation and their employer has been charged with providing accommodation to irregular...

  • Vietnamese less favored in Qatar

    June 2007 - Vietnam

    Some 40 out of the 7,000 Vietnamese workers deployed to Qatar since late 2006 have been expelled by Qatari authorities for crime, according to Pham Anh Thang of Sovilaco’s Middle East department. Qatari employers allegedly hesitate to hire Vietnamese workers due to their involvement in crime....

  • ASEAN pledges to prioritize migrant workers’ cases

    June 2007 - Indonesia

    At the “Working Session of the ASEAN National Human Rights Institutions Consultation Mechanism" held in Sanur, Bali on 28 June, ASEAN member countries agreed to prioritize the handling of migrant workers’ human rights violations. Chairman of Indonesia’s human rights commission Abdul Hakim...

  • Firm fined for housing migrant workers in toilet

    June 2007 - Singapore

    A local company, Maint-Kleen Pte Ltd, was fined S$7,500 after it was found guilty of housing its foreign workers in a public toilet. Acting on a tip-off, Ministry of Manpower inspectors found four migrant workers housed in the toilet in February 2006. It is the first time that the ministry has...

  • Overseas employment outlook

    June 2007 - Philippines

    The Philippines deployed 1,062,567 to some 197 countries in 2006, compared to 988,383 in 2005. Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) chief Rosalinda Baldoz said that 60 percent of all Filipinos deployed abroad in 2006 belong to the technical and high-end or high value skills...

  • Abuse vs. Indonesian domestic worker stirs discussion, action

    June 2007 - Malaysia

    On 16 June, Ceriyati Dapin, 33, tried to climb down from the 15th floor of a condominium, using pieces of cloth tied together as a rope after she was allegedly beaten with objects, punched and strangled during her five-month stay with her employer, 35, in Kuala Lumpur on 16 June. She was...

  • Abused domestic worker is home

    June 2007 - Indonesia

    An Indonesian domestic worker, Ceriyati Dapin, 33, who fled from her abusive Malaysian employer, was reunited with her family on 22 June. Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Kristiarto Legowo said that the government would facilitate her trip back to Malaysia to pursue her legal case. Malaysian...

  • UK requires biometric data of visa applicants

    June 2007 - Cambodia

    All UK visa applicants are required to provide their biometric data such as 10-finger scans and a digital photograph from 22 June. The British government introduces this biometric data collection as part of a worldwide biometric identification process designed to protect an individual’s...

  • Over a million Burmese refugees and IDPs

    June 2007 - Burma

    More than one million Burmese have been forced to leave the country or are internally displaced. The Thai-Burma Border Consortium registered 167,000 refugees in camps along the Thai-Burmese border. India and Bangladesh also host tens of thousands Burmese refugees. It is estimated there are more...

  • Many migrant workers arrested, detained, sentenced

    June 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    One Indonesian and two Filipinos were arrested in a routine inspection on 27 June targeting rental houses and rooms in Kampong Tanjong Nangka, Kampong Jangsak and Kampong Tanjong Bunut. The Indonesian is temporarily detained at the BSB Police Station while the authorities are awaiting his...

  • Tamil refugees refuse to go home

    June 2007 - Sri Lanka

    Tamil refugees at the Mylambaveli camp in Batticaloa district say they are not willing to return home in the Vavunativu, Karaveddi and Nellikade areas because of ongoing war in these places. However, authorities are planning to put them into buses and relocate them in West Batticaloa. The Army...

  • Human trafficking remains a “social disease" in the region

    June 2007 - Pakistan

    The trafficking of women and children still remains a “social disease" in South Asia, according to Women and Children Affairs Adviser Geeteara Safiya Choudhury. She added that the 2002 South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Convention on preventing and combating trafficking in women...

  • Malaysia to expel unfit Bangladeshi workers

    June 2007 - Bangladesh

    Many Bangladeshi workers might be expelled from Bangladeshi if they fail the fitness test at Malaysian medical check-up centers. They should have undergone and passed a medical check-up prior to their departure for Malaysia. Some officials of the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas...

  • To ban or not to ban the deployment of domestic workers

    June 2007 - India

    The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) is considering a ban on the deployment of domestic workers to countries that refuse to sign a bilateral labor welfare pact. It is estimated that more than 200,000 Indian women are working as domestic workers in the Gulf. The number of Indian domestic...

  • 6 Chinese women kidnapped

    June 2007 - Pakistan

    One male and six female Chinese, along with two Pakistanis, were kidnapped from an acupuncture clinic (or massage parlor, according to one report) on 22 June (another report cited 23 June) by a group of students from the Red Mosque and Jamia Hafsa female seminary. The captives were taken to...

  • Lower immigration target for 2007

    June 2007 - New Zealand

    The government plans to reduce the target of incoming migrants this year to 47,000 as the Reserve Bank and New Zealand First call attention to the effect of immigration on inflation and the housing market. Immigration Minister David Cunliffe said the large influx of immigrants and a strong surge...

  • Australia to combat human smugglers

    June 2007 - Australia

    The government announced a AU$2.6-million contract with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) as part of its efforts to monitor intelligence on human smugglers in Indonesia. The funding would be used to open 11 IOM offices throughout Indonesia to monitor irregular migration flows and...

  • Expat workers killed, injured in shooting incident

    June 2007 - Yemen

    A Yemeni soldier opened fire at a group of foreign workers connected with the California-based Occidental Petroleum Corporation (Oxy) as their helicopter landed at an oil facility in the eastern province of Shabwah. A Filipino man and a female Indian engineer were killed while five others – an...

  • Afghan migrants returning home from Iran

    June 2007 - Afghanistan

    Despite Kabul’s urgent appeal to Tehran to slow down the repatriation of Afghan migrants, thousands of deportees continued to cross the Iranian border through the Islam Qala desert post into Afghanistan. Since 21 April, more than 100,000 Afghans, many of them irregular migrant workers, have...

  • Hundreds of irregular migrants apply for amnesty

    June 2007 - United Arab Emirates

    The Labor Ministry issued a ruling on 21 June giving workers with expired labor cards 15 days to transfer their sponsorships and also exempting them from paying the usual fines. This move was aimed at making it easier for irregular migrant workers to take advantage of the government’s amnesty...

  • Statistics on expat remittances questioned

    June 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    Economic analysts are skeptical over the veracity of recently published statistics saying that Saudi’s seven million expatriate workers send home about SR100 billion yearly or an average of SR15,000 per worker per year. They cited a report released earlier this year by the Arab Monetary Fund...

  • Syrians blaming Iraqi refugees for economic crisis

    June 2007 - Syria

    Up to 2,000 Iraqi refugees are still arriving in Syria daily on top of the 1.5 million who have flooded into the country since the start of the US-led war in 2003. The situation has led economists and refugee experts to predict that Syria is likely to experience a social and economic crisis. The...

  • Fishermen prevent illegal entry of migrants

    June 2007 - Qatar

    Lieutenant Hassan Ahmed, a senior official from the Border Security Department, highlighted the role of local fishermen in preventing the entry to the country of irregular migrants. According to Ahmed, several migrants from neighboring countries have been trying to sneak into Qatar using the sea...

  • Free passports to Bangladeshis hit by flood

    June 2007 - Oman

    The Bangladeshi Embassy in Oman decided to issue passports, free of charge, to Bangladeshi workers and their families whose travel documents were lost or damaged during the recent floods there. According to the mission, Bangladeshi workers may claim their new passports within 45 days from the...

  • Pardoned irregular migrants leave Kuwait

    June 2007 - Kuwait

    Some 24,000 irregular migrants, most of them Asians, have been allowed to leave the country after availing of the amnesty, according to Colonel Saleh Abdul Razzak Al Asfour, head of the Interior Ministry’s inspection and detection division. Authorities have yet to decide on whether the...

  • Clashes result in deaths, injuries

    June 2007 - Lebanon

    Three Palestinian civilians were killed while some 50 others were wounded after Lebanese troops fired at hundreds of protestors, including women and children, who were demanding to return to their homes in the besieged Nahr Al Bared camp on 29 June. The refugees, who marched from the nearby...

  • Meeting of countries hosting Iraqis

    June 2007 - Jordan

    A meeting of countries currently hosting Iraqi refugees would be held in Jordan in late July. This was announced on 26 June following talks between Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdul-llah al-Khatib and his visiting counterpart from Iraq, Hoshyar Zebari. The United Nations is expected to attend the...

  • Children of foreign workers granted permanent residency

    June 2007 - Israel

    Interior Minister Roni Bar-On told a press conference on 18 June that Israel has granted permanent residency status to nearly two-thirds of the children of foreign workers who applied for it as part of the one-time citizenship campaign. Under the said campaign, the restrictions on some 1,500...

  • 1.5M Iraqi refugees swell ranks of refugees worldwide

    June 2007 - Iraq

    According to the UNHCR’s “Global Trends" report, Iraqi refugees have swelled the count of the world’s refugees to a high of 9.9 million as of the end of last year, up 14 percent higher than the 8.7 million refugees recorded in 2005. The report said that by the end of 2006, some 1.5 million...

  • Amnesty program must be publicized

    June 2007 - Bahrain

    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) has called on authorities to disseminate information about the government’s general amnesty program for irregular migrants. According to Nabeel Rajab, BCHR vice president, domestic workers should be one particular target since they stay indoors most of...

  • 18 Indian crew to be released

    June 2007 - Iran

    According to Indian Ambassador to Tehran Manbir Singh, the Iranian Foreign Ministry informed him on 28 June about Iran’s decision to release the 18 Indian nationals arrested three days earlier in Gulf waters. The Indians, who were crewmembers of three UAE boats, were arrested on suspicion of...

  • Human trafficking racket smashed

    June 2007 - Hong Kong SAR

    Police forces in Hong Kong and Australia have smashed a human trafficking ring that supplies Hong Kong women to work as prostitutes in other countries. Australian police arrested a Hong Kong couple in Melbourne early in June and charged them with sexual servitude offences. In another case, one...

  • Slave workers in Shanxi and Henan

    June 2007 - China PR

    Police has rescued nearly 600 enslaved workers (including dozens of children) at illegal brick kilns in Shanxi and Henan provinces, and detained almost 170 people suspected of trafficking and enslaving workers. Media reports described workers who were beaten, emaciated and forced to work long...

  • Share of foreigners in population rising

    June 2007 - Republic of Korea

    According to Korea Immigration Service Commissioner Han Sang-dae, the total number of foreigners will soon reach one million (excluding some 200,000 irregular migrants) or about two percent of the population. BY 2030, the population of foreigners is estimated to reach 3.6 million or about 7.2...

  • Attracting foreign professionals

    June 2007 - Taiwan

    As the Cabinet passed measures encouraging foreign professionals to come to Taiwan, Some 1,032 foreign professionals such as managers and high-tech workers in Taiwan will soon benefit from a range of government incentives designed for them. It is estimated Taiwan will be short of 34,000...

  • 4 North Korean defectors sent to South Korea

    June 2007 - Japan

    A family of four North Koreans found sailing off Fukaura Port in Fukauramachi, Aomori Prefecture on 2 June, got on a flight heading to South Korea on 16 July. Given the human rights situations in North Korea, Tokyo pledges to protect and assist North Korean defectors.

  • Addressing health worker migration in developing countries

    June 2007 - World

    Two key groups under the Health Worker Migration Policy Initiative are expected to work closely together for the development of recommendations to deal with the effects of health worker migration. The Migration Technical Working Group is comprised of representatives from the IOM, the...

  • Migrant child laborers working in Thai sweatshops

    June 2007 - Thailand

    According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), the children of migrant workers from neighboring countries, some as young as 10 years old, have replaced Thai minors in the local sweatshops. Guy Thijs, deputy regional director of the ILO’s Office for Asia and the Pacific, noted that...

  • More housing facilities HCM City’s migrant workers

    June 2007 - Vietnam

    Six residential complexes are set to be built in Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City this year to accommodate some 6,900 migrant workers from neighboring provinces who are employed in the city’s 15 industrial parks and export processing zones. From 2007-2010, HCM City also plans to construct an additional...

  • IOM unveils video series to raise HIV/AIDS awareness

    June 2007 - Thailand

    The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has introduced a series of animated videos targeting young migrant workers from the rural villages of Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, Cambodia and Laos who have scant knowledge about HIV. The videos, which are supposed to be used in interactive...

  • Manila shrugs off boycott threat by GCC manpower agencies

    June 2007 - Philippines

    Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Esteban Conejos said the Philippines is not bothered by the threat of manpower agencies in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to stop hiring Filipino workers. According to Conejos, this will not jeopardize the deployment of Filipino workers...

  • Malaysia lands in human trafficking blacklist

    June 2007 - Malaysia

    The 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report issued by the US State Department classified Malaysia among the countries with the worst human trafficking records. The report downgraded Malaysia to the blacklist for its alleged failure to prosecute and punish traffickers, the lack of adequate shelters and...

  • Good services for “foreign exchange heroes"

    June 2007 - Indonesia

    President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono urged envoys abroad and immigration and foreign ministry officials and staff to give due attention and services to the country’s migrant workers in recognition of their outstanding contribution to Indonesia’s foreign exchange earnings. Yudhoyono lamented...

  • Brunei’s stringent anti-trafficking laws noted

    June 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    The US State Department’s 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report cited Brunei’s stringent anti-trafficking laws and its efforts to train enforcement officers in dealing with the crime. However, for the second time, the report classified Brunei as a special case because of the absence of...

  • Sri Lanka mulls new wage rate for unskilled workers abroad

    June 2007 - Sri Lanka

    Sri Lanka’s Bureau of Foreign Employment revealed that authorities are currently considering raising the monthly minimum wage for unskilled Sri Lankan workers abroad, from $150 to $250. The bureau has already approved the proposal, which would be forwarded to the concerned department at the...

  • International support for repatriation of Afghan refugees sought

    June 2007 - Pakistan

    At the seminar, “Afghan Refugees: Challenges in Repatriation and Resettlement," speakers called on the United Nations, the international community and the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan to create a more favorable environment for the sustainable repatriation of Afghan refugees to their...

  • Bhutanese refugees protest shooting incident

    June 2007 - Nepal

    Some 10,000 Bhutanese refugees gathered at in Karkarvitta near the India-Nepal border, where Indian troops opened fire the day earlier killing one refugee. The refugees were there to protest the shooting incident. The police stopped the crowd from marching to a border bridge to stave off possible...

  • 120 Indian workers leave Niger Delta jobs due to security situation

    June 2007 - India

    Indian workers have joined the exodus of expatriates from the Niger Delta in Nigeria following the series of kidnappings of foreign nationals by militants. According to Indorama, the Indian firm that purchased Nigeria’s Eleme Petrochemical plant in Rivers State, the plant was forced to shut...

  • Minimum wage for migrant workers requires global effort

    June 2007 - Bangladesh

    Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, adviser for foreign and expatriates welfare ministries, called for a joint effort in setting a minimum wage for migrant workers. According to Chowdhury, the minimum wage policy cannot be enforced by one country alone. There has to be a global collective effort to make it...

  • Death of Filipino, Chinese seamen to be probed

    June 2007 - Other Pacific

    The Fiji police are investigating the death of a Filipino and two Chinese seafarers aboard the Taiwanese fishing vessel, Chien Chang, docked at the Suva wharf on 25 May. The ship’s captain and the other crew, including three other Filipinos, 18 Chinese and one Taiwanese, would be questioned...

  • Changes in skilled migration, investor migrant policies

    June 2007 - New Zealand

    The business community in New Zealand welcomed changes in the skilled migrant and investor migrant policies. Under the previous investor policy, migrants are required to deposit NZ$2-million with the government in exchange for residency. A new three-tiered approach has now been put in its place....

  • Migration contributes to Australia’s population

    June 2007 - Australia

    According to the Bureau of Statistics, Australia’s population is set to exceed 21 million by 29 June. Last year, the population increased by a record 293,000 on account of high birth rates and large migrant inflows. Australia gained a net of 147,723 migrants last year, the highest since the...

  • UAE issues 3-month amnesty for irregular migrant workers

    June 2007 - United Arab Emirates

    UAE announced a three-month amnesty period during which irregular migrant workers can either regularize their status or leave the country without facing penalties. The government estimates that the number of irregular migrant workers in the country has reached 300,000. According to Humaid Bin...

  • GCC mulling unified stance on domestic worker recruitment

    June 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    Sa’ad Bin Nahar Al Badah, chairperson of the recruitment committee of the Council of the Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CSCCI), said his committee has rejected the conditions demanded by the Philippine government for the recruitment of Filipino domestic workers. These demands include...

  • Highlights from international migration conference

    June 2007 - Qatar

    A two-day conference on “International migration: the situation of migrant workers in the Gulf and the Middle East" organized by Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) and the International Federation of Human Rights was held in Doha on 10-11 June. Delegates at the forum urged host...

  • Monitoring foreigners affected by cyclone

    June 2007 - Oman

    Philippine officials in Muscat are still checking unconfirmed reports that a Filipino woman was among the casualties from the onslaught of the deadly Cyclone Gonu that hit Oman on 6 June. According to reports at least 49 people were killed while some 27 others are still missing in the aftermath...

  • Clash between Lebanese troops and Islamist militants continue

    June 2007 - Lebanon

    The Palestinian refugee camp, Nahr Al Bared, near Tripoli has been the site of violent clashes between the Lebanese army and the al-Qaeda-inspired Fatah Islam militants holed up inside the camp since 20 May. Although most of the 31,000 camp residents have since fled to safer grounds, some 3,000...

  • Irregular migrants urged to avail of amnesty

    June 2007 - Kuwait

    The Kuwaiti government has given irregular migrants two months, from 1 May to 30 June, to leave the country or regularize their status without having to pay penalties or face prosecution for immigration violations. The amnesty program grants those who leave Kuwait voluntarily re-entry to the...

  • Number of displaced Iraqis reaches 4.2M: UNHCR

    June 2007 - Iraq

    The UNHCR revealed that more than 4.2 million Iraqis have now been displaced and this figure is likely to go even higher as about 30,000 continue to flee to Syria each month because of the poor security situation in the country. Of this number, about 2.2 million have fled to neighboring countries...

  • Bahrain disputes US trafficking in persons report

    June 2007 - Bahrain

    Dr. Shaikh Abdul Aziz bin Mubarak Al Khalifa of the Foreign Ministry, who also serves as chairperson of an interministerial task force on trafficking, said that Bahrain is among the countries at the forefront of the fight against human trafficking. He made the statement following the release of...

  • Moratorium on massive deportation of Afghan refugees sought

    June 2007 - Afghanistan

    Some 100,000 Afghan refugees had allegedly been expelled by Iran since 21 April and Tehran officials claim the number could easily soar to one million by next spring. UNHCR representative Salvatorio Lombardo disclosed that at the beginning of the drive, huge numbers of people were being expelled...

  • Migrant domestic workers, caregivers protest exclusion from minimum wage hike

    June 2007 - Taiwan

    A group of 20 to 30 migrant domestic workers, caregivers and activists rallied in front of the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) on 3 June to protest their exclusion from the impending minimum wage hike. Since these workers are not covered by the Labor Standards Law, the legislated wage hike would...

  • Competing proposals to bring in foreign workers submitted

    June 2007 - Japan

    Government officials and private industries have come up with various proposals to bring in foreign workers in a bid to address Japan’s expected labor shortage. Two of these proposals from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Health Ministry pertain to plans to restructure...

  • More educational support for children from international marriages

    June 2007 - Republic of Korea

    The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development announced plans to merge current local programs being offered by schools for children from intercultural marriages into a single national project in a bid to strengthen government support for their education. According to a ministry...

  • China hardest hit by brain drain: Report

    June 2007 - China PR

    According to a recent study by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, out of some 1.06 million students who enrolled in overseas universities since 1978, only 275,000 have returned to live in China. The rest have pursued postgraduate studies, employment, marriage or citizenship change in their...

  • Environmental migrants need protection

    May 2007 - World

    Prof. Janos Bogardi of the United Nations University called on the UN to assist millions of environmental migrants who leave their homes because of worsening environmental conditions due to climate change. The international community is careful about addressing environmental migration, fearing...

  • Hmong repatriated to Laos

    May 2007 - Thailand

    On 25 May, Thai authorities sent back to Laos 31 Hmong who entered the country two weeks ago. The Thai government sees the Hmong not as refugees but as economic migrants who must be repatriated. On the other hand, many human rights groups and the Hmong themselves claim they are persecuted in...

  • Vietnam aims for more deployment

    May 2007 - Vietnam

    The Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) aims to create 1.6 million jobs in 2007, of which 80,000 are overseas jobs. Some 78,000 Vietnamese migrant workers were deployed in 2006, according to MoLISA. In the first three months of 2007, 20,000 nationals were deployed to...

  • Foreigners nabbed, jailed, deported for immigration violations

    May 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    Two Indonesians, Karis Sunardi and Hendrik Puji Astanto, were sentenced to a month in jail after pleading guilty to an offence under the Passport Act. An immigration officer at the Kuala Lurah Immigration Control Post found on 24 May that the defendants who had previously stayed in the country...

  • Singapore determined to crack down on unauthorized migration

    May 2007 - Singapore

    Singapore is cracking down on the illegal employment of foreigners with tougher penalties under the newly constituted Employment of Foreign Manpower Act. Under the new law, the maximum fine is S$15,000 or jail of up to a year or both for each case of illegal employment. Those who provide false...

  • OFW deployment declined in 2007

    May 2007 - Philippines

    Preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed that a total of 395,164 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were deployed from January to April, down by 7.5 percent compared with the 427,310 OFWs deployed during the same period last year. The number of...

  • Malaysia-Indonesia MOU elicits various reactions

    May 2007 - Malaysia

    Home Affairs Minister Mohamad Radzi Sheikh Ahmad said his ministry had received many complaints from employers that the ruling in the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Indonesia and Malaysia concerning Indonesian domestic workers had been ignored by both local agencies and Indonesian...

  • The Hmong Case

    May 2007 - Laos

    The Hmong were recruited by the US Central Intelligence Agency to fight on behalf of a pro-American government. Many of them illegally entered Thailand to seek asylum but ended up being repatriated by the Thai government, which considered them as irregular migrants. On top of that, the...

  • Minimum wage set for Indonesian domestic workers in Singapore

    May 2007 - Indonesia

    Starting 1 July, Indonesia will increase the minimum wage for its domestic workers in Singapore who are attached to a recruitment agency from the current S$280 to S$350 per month. The decision is similar to the one the Philippines made which sets US$400 for its overseas domestic workers. The new...

  • Funds sought for the repatriation of Afghan refugees

    May 2007 - Pakistan

    The government expressed concern over gradually decreasing international funding for the repatriation of Afghan refugees and appealed for generous contributions to UNHCR. Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions Sardar Yar Mohammad Rind reminded donors that the continued existence of...

  • Addressing the plight of Sri Lankans in the Middle East

    May 2007 - Sri Lanka

    President Mahinda Rajapaksa expressed his commitment to uplift the welfare facilities and solve the problems encountered by the Sri Lankan community in Middle East. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has directed all the Sri Lankan envoys serving in the Gulf region – Oman, Qatar, Abudhabi, Kuwait,...

  • Bhutanese refugees divided over US resettlement

    May 2007 - Nepal

    Some 107,000 (another report cites 108,000) Bhutanese refugees of Nepali origin have been languishing in seven camps in eastern Nepal since the early 1990s. In November 2005, seven countries – Canada, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and the US – formed a working group...

  • Measures to protect Indian domestic workers in the Gulf

    May 2007 - India

    The government’s decision to train women seeking employment in the Gulf as domestic workers was welcomed by officials and human rights groups in Bahrain. Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury said the Ministry will also ensure that these women are accredited with the Ministry...

  • More workers deployed, more remittances

    May 2007 - Bangladesh

    Over 250,000 workers of different categories had left the country with overseas jobs in the past five months and they sent remittances amounting to Taka 141.45 billion (14,145 crore). Remittances sent by overseas Bangladeshis are expected to exceed $6 billion in 2007 as demands for Bangladeshi...

  • New Zealand unveils new immigration plan

    May 2007 - New Zealand

    Immigration Minister David Cunliffe outlined the country’s plan to attract migrants in a bid to keep the labor force competitive in the global economy, increase public confidence and foster the country’s diverse population. The Immigration Change Program will consist of three pillars: (1)...

  • Migrants in CNMI are eligible to non-immigrant status

    May 2007 - Other Pacific

    Migrants who legitimately stayed and worked in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) for at least five consecutive years may be eligible to reside, study and work in the US mainland as non-immigrant residents. Holders of this status, which is renewable every 10 years, would be...

  • Proposal about HIV-positive migrants

    May 2007 - Australia

    Health Minister Tony Abbott and Immigration Minister Kevin Andrew have advised Prime Minister John Howard to adopt the policy of requiring HIV-positive migrants to Australia to report to health authorities within a month of arriving in Australia or face losing their visas. The Health Department...

  • Asian domestic workers receive training before deployment

    May 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    Asian governments have begun to train their nationalities wishing to work as domestic workers in the Gulf region. The training includes a program aimed at breaking language and cultural barriers. For instance, India, the Philippines and Indonesia are implementing a train-before-you-fly rule prior...

  • Amnesty for irregular migrants proposed

    May 2007 - United Arab Emirates

    The Ministry of Labor proposed another amnesty for irregular migrant workers to either correct and restore their status or leave the country in a bid to streamline the labor market and eliminate a growing number of labor disputes. Regarding labor disputes, Labor Minister Dr. Ali bin Abdullah Al...

  • New fingerprint system curbs unauthorized migration

    May 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    Col. Aid ibn Tagalib Al-Luqmani, head of the Passport Department in Makkah, said the new fingerprint system recently implemented by the Passport Department helps apprehend individuals who have returned to the country after deportation. Such entrants will be punished and deported to their...

  • Manpower agencies can recruit less-skilled factory workers

    May 2007 - Qatar

    The Department of Labor will soon allow manpower agencies in the country to hire semi- and unskilled workers for companies covered under the Labor Law in a bid to improve the overall labor situation and curb the incidence of runaway workers. The manpower agencies will be responsible for verifying...

  • Launch of OFW e-card

    May 2007 - Oman

    The Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Muscat has announced the issuance and activation of the overseas Filipino worker electronic cards (OFW e-card) on 18 May. The OFW e-card is an identification card issued by the Department of Labor and Employment through its attached agencies, the Overseas...

  • Fighting in Palestinian refugee camp

    May 2007 - Lebanon

    Fierce battles broke out between the Lebanese army and Fatah al-Islam in Nahr al-Bared camp and the nearby port city of Tripoli on 20 May. Fatah al-Islam, a Sunni Islamist militant group, is believed to be a tool of Syrian intelligence. The bloodiest fighting in Lebanon in decades has left almost...

  • Pregnant Filipinas should not be deployed to Jordan

    May 2007 - Jordan

    Philippine Ambassador to Jordan Jose del Rosario issued an advice against the deployment of pregnant Filipinas to Jordan because it could lead to complications in repatriation and custody issues for the children. Several Filipina workers who gave birth in Jordan have been stranded in the country....

  • Two-month amnesty granted for irregular migrants

    May 2007 - Kuwait

    Kuwait granted a two-month amnesty to irregular migrants. From 1 May to 30 June, foreigners illegally staying in Kuwait are allowed to leave without paying penalties, said Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Ricardo Endaya. Since Kuwait announced its amnesty program, local immigration authorities...

  • Need to protect Iraqis with US ties

    May 2007 - Iraq

    The Significant Public Benefit Parole (SPBP) program administered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has granted temporary asylum to a former minister who led Iraq’s corrupt Health Ministry and to more than 100 other Iraqi professionals. In contrast, asylum through ordinary channels...

  • Afghans not allowed in Sistan Baluchistan

    May 2007 - Iran

    A senior security official was quoted as saying that Afghans and other foreigners are no longer allowed to live in any city in Sistan Baluchistan province. According to the UN, the government has already repatriated some 70,000 Afghan migrants. There have been reports of inhumane treatment in the...

  • Amnesty to be implemented in August

    May 2007 - Bahrain

    With several GCC countries implementing an amnesty for irregular migrants, the Ministry of Labor Dr. Majeed Mohsen Al Alawi announced that a six-month general amnesty for irregular migrants would be declared in August. The Ministry of Labor will implement this general amnesty program in...

  • Afghanistan-Iran talks over deportations

    May 2007 - Afghanistan

    Talks are underway between Afghanistan and Iran over the controversial deportations of Afghans. Iran wants one million Afghans repatriated by March 2008. However, Afghanistan requested Iran to halt the repatriation because it cannot accommodate a large number of people at once. In the meantime,...

  • Japan to admit migrants?

    May 2007 - Japan

    Japan is expected to lift restrictions on immigration to more foreign workers to keep its economy growing and combat the problem of an aging population, said Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Mitoji Yabunaka. He said the government’s decision last September to bring in 1,000 Filipino nurses...

  • Foreigners experience discrimination

    May 2007 - Republic of Korea

    The Hope Institute claimed foreigners experience discrimination in Korea. According to the current law, those aged over 65 can take a free subway ticket and receive a monthly subsidy for traffic expenses from a district office but foreigners are excluded from any of these benefits. Those who are...

  • One-child policy, a factor in trafficking

    May 2007 - China PR

    The one-child policy is one of the factors that have created a huge demand for trafficking baby girls from southern China to the north where many are raised as potential wives, said Nicholas Becquelin, the Hong Kong-based research director of Human Rights Watch. Since most couples want a boy to...

  • Human trafficking victims or criminals?

    May 2007 - Taiwan

    The US put Taiwan on its Tier 2 Watch List for human trafficking in 2005 due allegedly to the country’s failure to keep itself from becoming a global hub and destination for trafficked persons, especially women and girls sold into prostitution. However, local law enforcement agencies and social...

  • Immigration policy to be relaxed

    May 2007 - Hong Kong SAR

    The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region announced that the immigration policy governing the entry of dependents for residence will be eased starting 1 June. Under the new policy, spouses and unmarried dependent children below 18 years of the specific categories of mainland...

  • Climate change will lead to more displacement: report

    May 2007 - World

    A new report called “Human tide: The real migration crisis," released by the development charity group, Christian Aid, projected that the effect of climate change on poor nations already under serious threat of forced migration could lead to the displacement of some one billion people from...

  • Protest meets Chiang Rai’s plan to restrict migrant workers

    May 2007 - Thailand

    Migrant workers, together with employers and labor advocates, wrote a letter to Chiang Mai governor, Vichai Srikwan, on 11 May to protest restrictions the provincial government was planning against them. The proposed restrictions include a ban on public gatherings involving more than five migrant...

  • English, important for overseas employment

    May 2007 - Vietnam

    According to labor recruiting companies, despite the high demand for Vietnamese workers abroad the opportunity for overseas employment eludes many because of their poor command of the English language. Two companies licensed to recruit workers for the US, AIC and Virasimex, have yet to send any...

  • Luring foreign talents to Singapore

    May 2007 - Singapore

    Singapore has launched various programs as part of efforts to encourage foreign talents to settle in the country and feel at home in the city-state. Permanent residents and new citizens would be treated to museum visits and heritage tours and are encouraged to take active part in activities such...

  • 8 Filipino hostages return from Nigeria

    May 2007 - Philippines

    The eight overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), who were kidnapped by Nigerian militants, were released on 8 May after six days in captivity in the jungles of the Niger Delta. They were abducted at the construction site of the Afam power plant in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. The Filipinos were connected...

  • Malaysia urged to disband RELA

    May 2007 - Malaysia

    The New York-based Human Rights Watch has called on Malaysia to immediately disband a voluntary security force, known as RELA, which is believed responsible for many incidents of illegal detention and violence against migrant workers. These volunteers have been given the authority to make...

  • Bilateral agreements with destination countries urged

    May 2007 - Indonesia

    The International Labor Organization (ILO) advised Jakarta to establish bilateral agreements with destination countries of Indonesian migrant domestic workers in order to protect their rights. According to Lotte Kejser, chief technical adviser for Combating Forced Labor and Trafficking of...

  • Burmese refugees to resettle in US, Finland

    May 2007 - Burma

    Some 200 Burmese refugees are expected to be included in a resettlement program in Hagerstown, Virginia, USA over the next 18 months. The Virginia Council of Churches plans to resettle about 100 Burmese refugees in Hagerstown by 30 September this year and the remaining 100 by 30 September 2008....

  • 28 foreigners nabbed in immigration raids

    May 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    Some 28 foreign nationals, including 14 Indonesians, four Indians, three Bangladeshis and seven Thais, were arrested by immigration enforcement personnel following raids conducted in various premises from 29 April to 9 May. Those nabbed either lacked proper documents or had overstayed their...

  • Overstaying migrants in Kuwait to avail of amnesty

    May 2007 - Sri Lanka

    Some 3,000 overstaying Sri Lankan migrant workers in Kuwait have applied for exit documents with their embassy in order to avail of the two-month amnesty program for immigration offenders offered by the Kuwaiti government. Foreigners without the necessary visas in Kuwait are given from 1 May to...

  • Pakistanis deported from various countries from 2005

    May 2007 - Pakistan

    According to Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Khusro Bakhtiar, some 73,001 Pakistani irregular migrants were deported from several countries in 2005-06; 42,761 others were deported in 2006-07. Countries that deported them include Nepal, Sri Lanka, China, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, many...

  • Israel ban on recruitment of Nepali workers unclear

    May 2007 - Nepal

    The Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (NAFEA) claimed that the Israeli government has stopped processing new job offers and issuing calling visas for Nepali workers. The Israeli Embassy in Nepal reportedly continues to issue visas only to those who have already received their...

  • India to ban overseas deployment of domestic workers under 30 years old

    May 2007 - India

    Minister for Women and Children Renuka Chowdhury announced that India would soon impose a ban on the deployment of domestic workers under 30 years of age to the Gulf countries and parts of Africa and Southeast Asia. The move, which is intended to curb the sex trafficking of Indian women, came...

  • Bangladesh and UAE to sign MoU

    May 2007 - Bangladesh

    Bangladesh is set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UAE during the two-day visit to the country of UAE’s Labor Minister, starting 20 May. The said agreement is intended to promote and regulate the deployment of Bangladeshi workers to the UAE. It is also expected to explore...

  • Calls for increased migration to fill labor shortages

    May 2007 - New Zealand

    The Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce called on the government to immediately implement measures, including increased immigration quotas, to address New Zealand’s labor shortages. The chamber said that employers are finding it more difficult to get needed skilled and less skilled staff....

  • Employers blamed for rising number of overstayers in American Samoa

    May 2007 - Other Pacific

    According to American Samoa’s chief immigration officer, Ufuti Faafetai Ieremia, local sponsors are partly to blame for the increasing number of visa overstayers in the territory. He said a number of local sponsors are preventing their migrant workers from returning to their home countries even...

  • Funds set aside for delivering new citizenship test

    May 2007 - Australia

    The Commonwealth has allocated some A$123.6 million this year for administering the new citizenship test that would quiz would-be citizens on the country’s history, values and traditions. According to Immigration Minister Kevin the funds would go towards the production of an “Australia way of...

  • GCC mulls lifetime ban vs. irregular migrant workers

    May 2007 - United Arab Emirates

    The UAE government is reportedly considering the enforcement of stricter penalties against irregular migrant workers, including the imposition of a life ban on them not only in the Emirates but in all the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). According to Labor Minister Ali...

  • New rules expected to reduce the number of runaway domestic workers

    May 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    The Labor Ministry said that the implementation of new rules governing the relations between employers and their domestic workers starting next month is expected to reduce the number of runaway workers in the kingdom. Saudi based recruitment offices estimate that up to 7,000 foreign domestic...

  • Plight of Palestinian, Iraqi refugees blamed on US, Israel

    May 2007 - Syria

    At a recent conference attended by the Arab and Islamic press, Syrian Vice-President Farouk Shara accused the United States and Israel of being responsible for the influx of millions of Palestinian and Iraqi refugees into neighboring Arab countries and called on these two countries to assume...

  • Runaway worker’s remains awaiting repatriation

    May 2007 - Qatar

    The remains of runway Nepalese worker, Ram Prasad Bhandari, 29, who died of natural causes last month, is being kept at the mortuary of the Hamad General Hospital pending repatriation. Bhandari had come to Qatar two years ago to work for a private construction company. However, he ran away from...

  • Two-month amnesty program begins 1 May

    May 2007 - Kuwait

    At a recent press conference, Immigration Department director general Brigadier Abdullah Al Ruwaih declared a two-month amnesty program to allow expatriates with expired residence permits or visit visas to leave the country without facing arrest or penalties. According to Al Ruwaih, these...

  • Chinese construction workers exploited in Israel

    May 2007 - Israel

    According to a report published by the Hotline for Migrant Workers and Kav Louved-Worker’s Hotline on 13 May, up to 15,000 Chinese migrant workers employed in Israel’s construction sector are facing poor working conditions. The report said that the migrant construction workers earn only 87...

  • UNHCR to boost assistance for Iraqi refugees

    May 2007 - Iraq

    The UNHCR announced that it would increase its financial assistance to countries hosting large numbers of Iraqi refugees, particularly Syria and Jordan. UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres said the agency also plans to increase its presence inside Iraq to help internally displaced Iraqis. Meanwhile, the...

  • Iran agrees to slow down repatriation of Afghan refugees

    May 2007 - Iran

    Iran has expelled some 85,000 Afghans over a period of three weeks since its repatriation plan was launched on 21 April, according to Deputy Interior Minister Mohammad Baqer Zolghadr. Tehran is allegedly determined to send home some one million undocumented Afghans by March. It even offered...

  • Striking workers return to work

    May 2007 - Bahrain

    The three-day strike at the Salmabad camp by more than 350 laborers of the Mohammed Jalal Contracting Company ended peacefully on 8 May after company management agreed to the workers’ demand for a wage hike. The company agreed to raise the workers’ monthly salary to BD60 from the previous...

  • Afghans protest Iran’s deportation of refugees

    May 2007 - Afghanistan

    Some 500 people marched to the Iranian embassy in Kabul on 1 May to protest Iran’s deportation of thousands of Afghan refugees. According to the UNHCR, from 21 April to 8 May, Iran has sent back more than 52,000 Afghan refugees, including women who left behind some family members. The move...

  • Anti-discrimination law amended

    May 2007 - Taiwan

    The Legislative Yuan amended on 4 May the Employment Services Law prohibiting job discrimination on the basis of three additional categories – namely, age, birthplace and sexual orientation. The current law already bans discriminating against job applicants on the basis of race, class,...

  • Asylum seeker denounces “degrading" treatment

    May 2007 - Hong Kong SAR

    A 30-year old asylum seeker from Central Africa, using the pseudonym Saidou, appeared before a press conference on 6 May with five other asylum seekers to denounce the “inhumane" and “degrading" treatment he allegedly received from Hong Kong authorities while in detention. Saidou claimed that...

  • May Day protest over irregular migrant workers

    May 2007 - Macau SAR

    A rare May Day political rally in Macao to protest alleged corruption and the increasing influx of irregular migrant workers turned violent as protesters clashed with riot police. Reports said the police fired blank rounds into the air and used dogs to disperse the crowd of some 1,000 protesters...

  • Koreans urged to embrace diversity, multiculturalism

    May 2007 - Republic of Korea

    At a seminar on foreign workers’ rights held at the National Assembly on 11 May, Rep. Yoo Jae-kun of the progovernment Uri Party said it is high time for Korea to embrace diversity and multiculturalism as part of its core values in order to prevent possible culture clashes and social tensions...

  • Proposal to admit unskilled foreign workers

    May 2007 - Japan

    Justice Minister Jinen Nagase has come up with a proposal to allow foreign unskilled workers to stay in Japan for a period of three years, without restrictions on the industry where they could work. Nagase has asked bureaucrats to review his proposal as a possible solution to the country’s...

  • China moves to protect overseas migrant workers

    May 2007 - China PR

    China has announced plans to set up security alerts and a contingency system for safeguarding Chinese migrant workers abroad in cases of emergency. The announcement was made following a series of clashes, killings and kidnappings involving Chinese migrant workers, highlighting the risks that go...

  • Ratification campaign for the Migrant Workers Convention

    April 2007 - World

    The Committee on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers is determined to convince more UN member states to sign and ratify the International Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers. The convention is currently ratified by only 36 State parties out of a total UN membership of 192....

  • Malaysia dependent on foreign domestic workers

    April 2007 - Malaysia

    Deputy Home Affairs Minister Datuk Tan Chai Ho said that the country is increasingly dependent on foreign domestic workers owing to lifestyle changes and a large number of career women. Tan noted that 310,661 or 16.6 percent of some 1.9 million migrant workers holding temporary work permits are...

  • Amendments to law for hiring foreign workers

    April 2007 - Thailand

    The Labor Ministry will abolish the annual registration system of irregular migrant workers and modify a labor law to legitimize the import of foreign workers, labor permanent secretary Chuthatawat Indrasuksri said. According to him, the repatriation of irregular migrant workers will begin next...

  • Foreigners arrested, detained, sentenced for immigration violations

    April 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    Four Indonesians and two Indians were apprehended on 25 April during a raid operation in six areas of the Brunei- Muara District. A 38-year-old Indian man whose pass had expired more than 1,000 days ago was arrested in Kg Perpindahan Burong Pingai, Berakas. Another Indian, 36, whose immigration...

  • Deployment of OFWs drops

    April 2007 - Philippines

    The Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) reported an 11 percent-drop in the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the first quarter of the year. Deployment was 280,605 in the first three months of 2006 compared with 249,681 during the same period in 2007. The number...

  • BIMP-EAGA countries discussed migration

    April 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    Delegations from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines gathered in Brunei Darussalam to discuss the structure and composition of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area Customs, Immigration, Quarantine and Security (BIMP-EAGA CIQS) Task Force and...

  • Singaporeans should make immigrants feel at home

    April 2007 - Singapore

    The growing number of immigrants in Singapore suggests the need to integrate them in society. In this regard, Singaporeans have a role to play in making them feel welcome, said Professor S Jayakumar, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Law and Coordinating Minister for National Security.

  • Protecting Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia

    April 2007 - Indonesia

    In the seminar on the “Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers in Malaysia: After the Signing of MOU on Formal and Informal Sectors," Democratic Party chairman Nurfaizi and Indonesian deputy ambassador to Malaysia Mohamad Fachir called on the Indonesian government to change the current MOU...

  • Concerns over labor migration

    April 2007 - Sri Lanka

    Labor migration has generated three major issues in the public discourse and national policy in the country – feminization of migration, brain drain, and remittances. Some 60 percent of Sri Lankan emigrants are females, many of whom are working as domestic workers in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and...

  • FIA officials involved in trafficking sacked

    April 2007 - Pakistan

    The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) either dismissed from service or sent on forced retirement its 27 high and low ranking officials who were involved in human trafficking in the last three years, Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao told the National Assembly. These officials face heavy...

  • US to expedite the resettlement of Bhutanese refugees

    April 2007 - Nepal

    The US will set up offices in Kathmandu and Jhapa district in July to expedite the process of resettling some 60,000 Bhutanese refugees in the US, said Lawrence Bartlett and Janice S Belz of the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. They will meet the...

  • Deployment of workers to Malaysia delayed

    April 2007 - Bangladesh

    Some 14,000 Bangladeshi workers who have completed all formalities for working in Malaysia are forced to wait for indefinite periods due to shortage of flights. Their departure has been delayed because the flights bound for Malaysia cannot carry over 700 passengers daily, said an official of the...

  • Thousands nabbed for fake papers

    April 2007 - India

    A total of 4,172 Indians were arrested while attempting to travel abroad on forged travel documents at major international airports between 2004 and 2006, according to the Home Ministry figures. As many as 1,492 Indians have been apprehended in 2006, compared with 1,072 in 2004 and 1,608 in 2005....

  • Permanent residency status to migrant workers

    April 2007 - Other Pacific

    US Department of Interior’s deputy assistant secretary for insular affairs David B. Cohen announced that the department is considering granting a permanent residency status to migrant workers subjected to labor and human rights abuses in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)....

  • Employers push for more skilled migrants

    April 2007 - Australia

    Premier Steve Bracks will push for importing as many as 10,000 skilled migrants to Australia in the next financial year as employer associations, such as the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Industry Group, are urging the government...

  • Growing number of Asian immigrants

    April 2007 - New Zealand

    According to New Zealand’s Culture and Identity report, based on the 2006 census, although Europeans are the largest migrant group in New Zealand, the latest census figures show the country’s changing face in terms of ethnicity, languages and religions. The 2006 census put the New Zealand...

  • Strict measures against errant companies

    April 2007 - United Arab Emirates

    Assistant undersecretary at the Ministry of Labor, Humaid Bin Deemas, warned that companies that do not pay their workers’ salaries for more than two months would not be allowed to apply for group worker visas for one year. The move is part of strict measures the ministry is taking against...

  • Hundreds of African migrants die at sea

    April 2007 - Yemen

    According to Sadat Mohammed, head of the refugee affairs in the Somali community in Sana’a, the Yemeni coast guard fired at three boatloads of Ethiopian and Somali migrants off Yemen’s coast late on 12 April. The shooting allegedly caused one of the boats to capsize, resulting in the death of...

  • Fire at Palestinian refugee camp injures 3 people

    April 2007 - Syria

    A fire broke out at a Palestinian refugee camp on Syria’s border with Iraq, burning seven tents and injuring several people. The Palestinian Red Crescent allegedly treated three people for serious burns while 25 others, mostly children, were treated for smoke inhalation and minor burns. The...

  • Increased demand for foreign manpower

    April 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    According to Dr. Abdul Wahid Al-Humaid, deputy labor minister for planning and development, despite the Saudization drive, there was a 60 percent increase in the number of visas issued to foreign workers, from 765,624 in 2005 to 1.22 million last year. This, he said, was in response to the...

  • No plans to suspend recruitment of Indian drivers

    April 2007 - Qatar

    Transport firm, Mowasalat, clarified that it has no intention of suspending its recruitment of Indian workers, according to its human resources director, Khalil Ali Johar. Earlier, there were reports in Indian media that the company was planning to stop recruiting Indian drivers. The firm is...

  • UN chief appeals for help to Iraqi refugees

    April 2007 - Iraq

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Iraq’s neighbors to keep their doors open to Iraqi refugees and the international community to share some of the burden. Ban made the appeal during the opening of a two-day conference in Geneva on 17 April highlighting the plight of some four million...

  • GCC states to adopt common policies for foreign workers

    April 2007 - Qatar

    The six member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that attended a conference in Doha on 17-19 April resolved to implement the recommendations of international organizations to improve the conditions of their foreign workers. At the end of the conference, the participants issued a...

  • Renewal of residence permits

    April 2007 - Kuwait

    Assistant Undersecretary for Citizenship and Passports, Major General Shaikh Ahmed Al Nawaf Al Sabah recently released a new decision allowing expatriates to renew their residence permits three months in advance of the expiry date. The decision would reportedly apply to all types of residence...

  • Gradual decline in new immigration

    April 2007 - Israel

    According to Immigrant Absorption Minister Zeev Boim, the number of new immigrants to Israel is on a gradual decline. Boim said that last year the number of new immigrant arrivals to Israel was about 19,000, down from the 21,000-22,000 new immigrants per year in the past three years.

  • Rising number of absconding workers noted

    April 2007 - Bahrain

    Col. Yousif bin Ahmed Al Ghattam, assistant undersecretary of Ports Investigation and Pursuance, called attention to the rising number of absconding workers in Bahrain over the past two years. According to him, more than 2,012 cases of absconding workers were reported in 2006, compared to 1,791...

  • Iran urged to suspend repatriation of Afghan refugees

    April 2007 - Afghanistan

    The Foreign Ministry called on the Iranian government on 29 April to stop the ongoing repatriation of Afghan refugees because, at present, Afghanistan does not have enough resources to resettle them. According to the ministry’s spokesperson, Sultan Ahmad Baheen, Iran has repatriated some 30,000...

  • Memorial monument honoring migrant workers

    April 2007 - Taiwan

    The Taipei municipal government unveiled a memorial monument at the city’s Sports Park to commemorate the 26 migrant workers who died from workplace accidents in Taipei City since 1991. Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bing stated that the city government has built the monument to express its gratitude to...

  • Macao is short of labor

    April 2007 - Macau SAR

    Macao is facing a critical labor shortage in the wake of the sudden casino-led economic boom following the deregulation of its gaming laws in 2001. Casinos have been forced to raise their wages to nearly unsustainable levels to attract skilled croupiers and card dealers. Unions and the civil...

  • Japan to study EU immigration policy

    April 2007 - Japan

    European Union (EU) and Japanese officials attending a conference sponsored by the European Commission (EC) in Hakone have agreed that Japan should look at how the EU countries formulate national immigration policy and the EU’s overall migrant worker strategy. Amid declining birthrates and an...

  • Global initiative against forced labor launched

    April 2007 - Hong Kong SAR

    A two-year global initiative against forced labor was launched on 19 April at the summit held in Hong Kong to raise corporate awareness on counter-trafficking. The summit’s participants included global corporations, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and NGOs. Businesses attending the...

  • Call to eliminate discrimination against foreigners

    April 2007 - Republic of Korea

    Following the Virginia Tech incident involving Cho Seung-hui, a Korean immigrant to the US, some critics urged Koreans to reflect upon their attitude toward immigrants. Many foreigners who have already gained Korean nationality still experience discrimination, racism and prejudice in society....

  • New wave of Chinese migration

    April 2007 - China PR

    A new wave of Chinese migrants is moving to many towns in northern Thailand, northern Burma, northern Cambodia, northern Laos, Korea and other parts of the world. In Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, the migration of Chinese over the past decade and their involvement in the local economy have...

  • Irregular migrants nabbed

    April 2007 - Singapore

    Over 60 irregular migrants from India, Bangladesh and China, aged between 20 and 52, who were working in construction or as cleaners and gardeners, were arrested during raids by Immigration and Checkpoints Authority officers on flats throughout Singapore on 10 April.

  • Surge in migration to OECD countries

    April 2007 - World

    A recent report noted a surge in migration into Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries in 2004, with Switzerland and New Zealand having the highest inflow of immigrants in proportion to their population. However, in terms of absolute number, the US received the...

  • Vietnamese couple arrested over illegal marriage scheme

    April 2007 - Vietnam

    Vietnamese police detained Sen Cam Diu, 44, and his wife, Huynh Thi Thu Thuy, 37, for attempting to broker marriages between 118 local women and Korean men. The couple has managed to arrange a total of 40 international marriages over the last four to five years, receiving a commission of about...

  • Growing number of North Koreans smuggled into Bangkok

    April 2007 - Thailand

    The number of North Korean defectors being smuggled into the country has significantly increased in the past few years. According to authorities, smuggling rings transferring them via Thailand to third countries, mainly South Korea, have grown. In 2003, only 40 North Koreans were caught and...

  • DFA prepares contingency plan for Filipinos in the Middle East

    April 2007 - Philippines

    The Department of Foreign Affairs has prepared a contingency plan for the estimated 1.5 to 1.8 million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East amid the continued holding of 15 British sailors in Iran. Esteban Conejos, DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs said that although...

  • Proposals to manage irregular migration in Sabah

    April 2007 - Malaysia

    Parti Keadilan Rakyat Sabah proposed that irregular migrants be issued a different identity card, thereby making them easily distinguishable from the local population. The party said this would make it easier for the state government to manage irregular migration. The party’s deputy chairperson...

  • Release of 3 North Korean youths from Laotian jail sought

    April 2007 - Laos

    Three teenage North Korean defectors, Hyok Choi, 12, and his sisters, Hyang Choi, 13, and Hyang-Mi Choi, 17, have been held in a Laotian jail over the last three months after being caught crossing the Mekong River in November 2006. The three would allegedly be deported back to North Korea unless...

  • Call to reform special terminal for migrant workers

    April 2007 - Indonesia

    Executive Director of Migrant Care, Anis Hidayah, called on the government to reform Terminal Three at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, the special terminal used to handle Indonesian workers arriving from abroad, amid complaints about extortion and abuse of workers at the airport. Anis...

  • German accused of sexual abuse of minor

    April 2007 - Cambodia

    A Cambodian court charged 61-year old German man, Walter Munz, on 10 April with sexually abusing a 13-year-old Cambodian girl. Munz was arrested two days earlier at a Phnom Penh guesthouse where he allegedly “shared a bed" with a beggar girl. Although he denied the charges through his lawyer...

  • Immigration raid nabs 20 foreign workers

    April 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    Some 16 Indonesians and four Bangladeshis were arrested for immigration violations by the Law Enforcement Section of the Department of Immigration and National Registration on 8 April. During the same raid in Jalan Kota Batu, a 32-year-old Indonesian man was also detained at the BSB Police...

  • Program to ensure migrant workers’ security, welfare

    April 2007 - Sri Lanka

    The Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare will initiate a new program to ensure the security and welfare of Sri Lankan migrant workers. As part of such efforts, the government will take steps to sign memoranda of understanding with the Middle East and other countries, according to...

  • Out-camp census of Bhutanese refugees

    April 2007 - Nepal

    The UNHCR, in collaboration with the Nepal government, will conduct an out-camp census of Bhutanese refugees in eastern Nepal districts starting 20 April. Hence, those refugees who were not present when the census was conducted last month would be registered this time. Sixteen rounds of...

  • India relaxes visa policy for SAARC countries

    April 2007 - India

    Inaugurating the 14th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was elected as the organization’s new chairperson, announced a unilateral liberalization of India’s visa policies for students, teachers, researchers, journalists and patients...

  • Govt amends visa policy

    April 2007 - Bangladesh

    The government has amended certain provisions of its Visa Policy 2006, including easing travel requirements and granting visa-less entry to permanent foreign entrepreneurs who will invest over $5-million in any heavy industry or permanent business in Bangladesh. Foreign businessmen will be...

  • Govt urges overseas Pakistani doctors to return home

    April 2007 - Pakistan

    Health Minister Chaudhry Muhammad Iqbal urged Pakistani doctors abroad to join medical universities and colleges in Pakistan. The government promises attractive salary packages and incentives to Pakistani doctors who choose to return home and start their practice in the country.

  • New Pacific Island seasonal worker scheme to be launched

    April 2007 - New Zealand

    A new seasonal worker scheme to take effect by the end of April would allow the recruitment of thousands of Pacific Islanders to fill acute labor shortages in New Zealand. Under the scheme, New Zealand employers would be allowed to recruit up to 5,000 seasonal workers from the Pacific Islands...

  • Changes to GSM visa scheme to be implemented in September

    April 2007 - Australia

    Beginning 1 September, Australia will begin implementing changes in its General Skilled Immigration (GSM) program. Foremost among the changes are the imposition of stricter requirements in English language proficiency and greater emphasis on skilled work experience. Under the new changes, the...

  • 107 companies banned for not employing enough Saudis

    April 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    The Ministry of Labor has banned some 107 companies from recruiting foreign workers for failing to meet Saudization standards. According to ministry sources, the banned companies had 100 or more foreign workers but had accomplished less than one percent Saudization. In fact, only eight of these...

  • 2 Lebanese workers, 2 other hostages released in Niger Delta

    April 2007 - Lebanon

    Four hostages, including two Lebanese construction workers, one Dutch security manager and one British oil worker, were released unharmed in southern Nigeria in separate incidents on 4 April. The Lebanese nationals, employed by Nigerian construction firm, Setraco, were working at a bridge...

  • Illegal company operations uncovered

    April 2007 - Kuwait

    Immigration authorities, in coordination with investigators and security men, recently uncovered the illegal operations of a real estate company listed at the Kuwait Stock Exchange. The company was suspected of forging employment documents to hire expatriate workers. The head of the firm...

  • Jordan and Sri Lanka ink MoU

    April 2007 - Jordan

    The Jordanian government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Sri Lanka seeking enhanced protection and benefits for Sri Lankan migrant workers in the kingdom. Under the new terms of the agreement, Jordanian employers are obligated to provide their Sri Lankan workers with insurance...

  • UNRWA lacks funds

    April 2007 - Israel

    The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) warned on 3 April that it might be forced to stop its food deliveries and other emergency assistance to some 1.2 million Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip due to lack of funds. According to UNRWA spokesperson in Gaza Adnan Abu...

  • UNHCR urges international support for Iraqi refugees

    April 2007 - Iraq

    Antonio Guterres of UNHCR urged the international community to offer more technical and financial support to Jordan and Syria to enable these two countries to continue providing refuge to some two million displaced Iraqis. According to Guterres, there is a lack of public awareness worldwide about...

  • 15 captured British marines released

    April 2007 - Iran

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced on 4 April the immediate release of 15 British sailors and marines, who were seized in the Gulf last month on charges of illegal entry into Iran’s territory, reportedly as an Easter gift to the British people. They left Iran’s Mehdarabad...

  • 197 irregular migrants intercepted

    April 2007 - Turkey

    Turkish security forces arrested some 114 Somalian, Mauritanian, Iraqi, Palestinian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi irregular migrants in various cities for violation of the country’s borders and passport law. Earlier, Turkish police held 83 irregular migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and...

  • More African migrants drown off Yemeni coast

    April 2007 - Yemen

    Some 130 migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia are believed to have died at sea off Yemen’s coast in recent days after the Yemeni Coast Guard fired at them, causing their boats to capsize. According to Sadat Mohammed, head of refugee affairs in the Somali community in Sana’a, some of the boats...

  • 11% rise in number of workers in UAE

    April 2007 - United Arab Emirates

    According to the Ministry of Labor (MoL), the number of workers in the UAE has reached 2,893,721 at the end of 2006, up 11 percent from the 2,583,997 in the previous year. This is mainly attributed to the increase in the number of projects in the UAE, the ministry said. Meanwhile, the ministry...

  • Taliban seized 2 French aid workers

    April 2007 - Afghanistan

    Two French humanitarian workers, along with three Afghan nationals, were reportedly seized by Taliban forces while the group was traveling in southern Afghanistan. According to the French foreign ministry the French man and French woman, who belonged to the organization, Terre d’Enfance (A...

  • Limit on number of manpower agencies

    April 2007 - Bahrain

    Labor relations director Shaikh Ali bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa of the Labor Ministry announced restrictions on the number of manpower agencies allowed to operate in the country in a bid to prevent the exploitation of foreign workers. At present, there are some 93 agencies registered in Bahrain...

  • No plum jobs waiting for returning overseas students

    April 2007 - China PR

    Chinese overseas students who had high expectations about job prospects in China face disappointment upon their return. Wu Li, who used up her family’s savings to study animation production in Australia, was disheartened to learn that most companies in China offer salaries of about 1,000 yuan...

  • HK needs more overseas talents

    April 2007 - Hong Kong SAR

    Bernard Chan, a lawmaker and Executive Council member, asserted that Hong Kong should maintain its international competitiveness by attracting more skilled migrants. He urged the government to facilitate visa applications and improve Hong Kong’s environment so as to compete with neighboring...

  • More Filipinos coming to Macao

    April 2007 - Macau SAR

    Macao is increasingly becoming a popular destination for overseas Filipino workers following the construction of new hotels and casinos in the territory that provides more job opportunities, particularly for those who are able to communicate in English. At present, there are already about 35,000...

  • Donation campaign for Migrant Workers’ Hospital

    April 2007 - Republic of Korea

    Hong Jung-wook, chief executive officer and publisher of Herald Media Inc., vowed to exert more effort to improve the plight of foreign workers in Korea as he delivered cash donation collected from company staff to the Migrant Workers’ Hospital in Seoul. Hong urged more companies and citizens...

  • Ethnic Koreans in Japan fight for equal rights

    April 2007 - Japan

    Immigrants, particularly the “Zainichi" or ethnic Koreans in Japan, have long been struggling in Japanese society. Their situation somewhat improved since Japan ratified the 1982 refugee recognition treaty, but unspoken discrimination remains. Lee Soo Im, a professor at Ryukoku University and a...

  • Taiwan holds conference on human trafficking

    April 2007 - Taiwan

    The International Conference on Human Trafficking, jointly organized by the Ministry of Justice, the Council of Labor Affairs and three academic institutes, was held as part of government efforts to eradicate human trafficking. In her keynote address, Grace Chung Becker, deputy assistant attorney...

  • Measures to meet 2007 deployment target

    March 2007 - Vietnam

    To reach the State’s target of deploying 80,000 Vietnamese migrant workers this year, the Department of Overseas Labor Management has identified a number of basic tasks that need to be undertaken. First is the drafting of legal documents to guide the implementation of the labor law on overseas...

  • Thailand restricts migrant workers’ freedom

    March 2007 - Thailand

    According to regional NGO network, Migrant Forum in Asia, several Thai provinces have begun tightening their regulations on foreign workers as part of Thailand’s security measures. Regulations include a ban on public assemblies of more than five foreign migrant workers, registration of mobile...

  • ASEAN declaration for migrant workers limited

    March 2007 - Philippines

    Ambassador Rosario Manalo admitted that the Declaration for the Protection of Migrant Workers’ Rights adopted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during its summit in Cebu last January is non-binding. The envoy recommended that the ASEAN member countries try to enforce instead...

  • Immigration to boost Singapore’s population

    March 2007 - Singapore

    Singapore has expressed concern over the country’s low birth rate and ageing population and is now turning to immigrants to boost its population. Singapore is banking on immigration to add two million people to the city-state’s 4.5 million population over the next 40 to 50 years.

  • Saudi’s new hiring policies to affect worker deployment

    March 2007 - Philippines

    According to Labor Secretary Arturo Brion, the Philippines is not yet implementing the new foreign worker hiring policy imposed by Saudi Arabia until it has received official confirmation. Under the so-called Wakkata system, foreign recruitment agencies are required to avail of the services of...

  • Demand for foreign workers remains high

    March 2007 - Malaysia

    According to State Labor Department director Abdul Rahim Md Said, there is still a high demand for foreign workers in Penang, particularly for low-end positions in construction, manufacturing, agriculture and service sectors, which locals are unwilling to take on. Last year, the department...

  • Indonesia approves human trafficking bill

    March 2007 - Indonesia

    A human trafficking bill imposing a maximum 15-year jail term or up to Rp 5-billion in fines for offenders was passed by the House of Representatives on 20 March. The bill, which criminalizes all forms of human trafficking, seeks to protect millions of women and children and the poor from abuse...

  • Cambodia bans deployment of migrant workers to southern Thailand

    March 2007 - Cambodia

    Cambodian authorities have banned migrant workers from seeking employment in southern Thailand, particularly in the Muslim-dominated provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, due to security concerns. Southern Thailand is plagued by an Islamic insurgency that has caused more than 2,000 deaths...

  • 37 foreign workers nabbed over immigration, labor violations

    March 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    Labor and immigration enforcement officers arrested some 37 foreign workers in various operations and routine inspections conducted from 21-29 March. Of this number, eight were arrested for immigration offenses, such as possession of expired visas or having no valid documents. They include four...

  • Sri Lanka urged to reconsider ban on overseas deployment of mothers with young children

    March 2007 - Sri Lanka

    The recent government decision to ban mothers with children under five years old from working abroad has been condemned by migrants’ rights and human rights groups for failing to ensure the well-being of children, given the poverty and lack of jobs in Sri Lanka. The ban affects female migrant...

  • March against child trafficking in South Asia

    March 2007 - India

    Some 150 people who joined a march against child trafficking arrived in New Delhi on 22 March, after traveling through remote border towns of South Asia considered as major origins of human trafficking. The march ended with a rally near India’s parliament that drew some 2,000 children and their...

  • Untreated common diseases main cause of migrant workers’ death abroad

    March 2007 - Nepal

    Lack of timely and proper medical treatment of common diseases has been identified as the main cause of death among Nepali migrant workers abroad, according to a report recently published by Nepal Institute of Development and the Coordination of Action Research and AIDS and Mobility (CARAM)-Asia....

  • Indian professionals face deportation from UK

    March 2007 - India

    With the introduction of the new points-based system in the UK in November 2006, Indian professionals unable to meet the new eligibility criteria under the Highly Skilled Migrants Programme (HSMP) are destined to leave the country, according to a group campaigning against the November 2006...

  • Deported, jailed Pakistanis

    March 2007 - Pakistan

    Some 60,000 Pakistanis have been deported from different countries over the last three years, while another 24,000 irregular migrants are serving jail terms abroad, according to Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) director general Tariq Pervaiz. On 29 March, another 119 Pakistanis, aged 22 to 35,...

  • Code of conduct for journalists covering trafficking issues

    March 2007 - Bangladesh

    Nari Unnayan Shakti organized a discussion on “Ethics and Norms" for media people reporting on human trafficking issues at the Dhaka Reporters’ Unity auditorium on 21 March. A total of 45 journalists from both print and electronic media participated in the discussion. Presenting the keynote...

  • Sri Lankan asylum seekers sent to Nauru to process their claims

    March 2007 - Australia

    The federal government has decided to send to Nauru the 82 Sri Lankan asylum seekers intercepted in the Indian Ocean last month to process their claims. The decision was made following more than three weeks of negotiations between Australia, Nauru and Indonesia. The Sri Lankans had earlier...

  • CNMI Labor Dept urged to ensure smooth employment transfers for migrant workers

    March 2007 - Other Pacific

    The Department of Labor of the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) has been urged to ensure smooth employer transfers among migrant workers. Rep. Ray Yumul, co-chair of the House Committee on Commerce and Tourism, has called on Labor Secretary Gil San Nicolas to require both the new...

  • UAE to introduce major labor reforms

    March 2007 - United Arab Emirates

    Labor minister Ali Bin Abdullah Al Kaabi met with Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi in New Delhi on 26 March to discuss various labor-related issues. He accompanied His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on...

  • Migrants forced to jump into sea off Yemen

    March 2007 - Yemen

    The UNHCR reported that smugglers had forced some 450 migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia to jump into the sea when their boats hit rough waters off the coastal town of Ras al-Kaib in Yemen on 22 March. According to some of the 293 survivors, those who refused to jump had been stabbed and hit with...

  • New rules to ensure rights of domestic workers

    March 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    According to Labor Minister Gazo Gosaibi, the first-ever regulation governing the relationship between domestic workers and employers, including their rights and obligations, would be released soon. One of the shortcomings of the existing labor law is that it does not cover many aspects related...

  • 14 Qatari firms blacklisted

    March 2007 - Qatar

    The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has banned 14 Qatari companies from recruiting migrant workers due to workers’ complaints against them, including the non-payment of salaries. The Indian Embassy has also put some 40 local companies on its watchlist following complaints from workers that...

  • Lebanon calls for repatriation of Palestinian refugees

    March 2007 - Lebanon

    President Emile Lahoud told reporters at the Arab summit in Riyadh that the settlement in Lebanon of Palestinian refugees has a negative impact on the social structure of his country and is detrimental to the Palestinian cause. According to Lahoud, any future peace agreement between the...

  • Kuwait eases labor rules

    March 2007 - Kuwait

    The Labor Ministry has decided to relax Kuwaiti labor rules in a bid to attract more expatriate workers for the country’s expanding economy. According to a labor official, the ministry now allows the transfer of work permits from one employer to another provided certain conditions are met. A...

  • Arab leaders pushing for Palestinians’ right of return

    March 2007 - Israel

    Arab leaders holding a summit in Riyadh once again urged Israel to accept a 2002 peace plan wherein Arab nations vow to recognize the state of Israel provided it withdraws from all the land it occupied in 1967. The said plan calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state and a “just...

  • More assistance for Iraqi refugees sought

    March 2007 - Iraq

    According to the UNHCR, the number of Iraqi refugees arriving in Europe this year is expected to double to 40,000 following increased pressure on European governments to take in more asylum seekers. Last year, some 20,000 Iraqis had applied for asylum in the European Union. The UNHCR said that...

  • Iran detains 15 British navy personnel

    March 2007 - Iran

    Iran has rejected London’s call for the immediate release of 15 British service personnel accused of unauthorized entry into the country’s territorial waters. The British government insists that the 15 personnel from the British navy, including a woman, were on a routine anti-smuggling patrol...

  • Calls for a new law to protect domestic workers

    March 2007 - Bahrain

    The Respect Movement is launching a petition calling for a new labor legislation to protect domestic workers. This was disclosed by Faisal Fulad, regional and international relations director of the Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society and president of the Workers Charity Fund during the Mother’s...

  • Taliban insurgency displaces residents

    March 2007 - Afghanistan

    The UNHCR has expressed concern over the growing number of civilians being displaced by the ongoing conflict in Helmand, a province in southern Afghanistan. The fighting has forced some 25,000 people from about 5,000 families to flee their homes, prompting the governor of Helmand to seek aid from...

  • HK judge urges better treatment of foreign domestic workers

    March 2007 - Hong Kong SAR

    Hong Kong Eastern Court magistrate, Winston Leung, sentenced employer, Wong Ching-wah, 42, to 100 hours of community service for hitting her Filipina domestic worker, Annaliza Celba, on the forehead. According to Celba’s testimony, Wong rammed her head against a door causing bruises on her...

  • Manufacturers seeking more high-tech migrant workers

    March 2007 - Taiwan

    Major manufacturers in the Hsinchu Science Park complained to Vice President Annette Lu, who visited the park on 17 March, that there is a dearth of high-tech research and development workers. They informed Lu of their proposal to allow more migrant workers to work in the park.

  • 24 irregular migrant workers arrested

    March 2007 - Macau SAR

    Some 24 irregular migrant workers were arrested by the Macao police at a casino construction site on 15 March. The 24 men, aged between 18 and 50, were reportedly holding Hong Kong and mainland travel documents. The number of irregular migrant workers in Macao has been on the rise recently with...

  • Govt slammed over detention center fire

    March 2007 - Republic of Korea

    Human rights groups condemned the government for its improper response to the blaze at the Yeosu detention center on 11 February that resulted in the death of nine migrant workers. Soon after the incident, authorities allegedly transferred some 28 survivors to another detention facility while many...

  • Business federation proposes more skill areas for foreign employment

    March 2007 - Japan

    The Japan Business Federation has proposed to expand skill areas where migrant workers can be hired full-time if no Japanese workers are available in those areas. The federation also suggested that migrant workers be recruited from countries that signed economic partnership agreements with Japan...

  • Emigration has positive and negative effects

    March 2007 - China PR

    The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences stated in a recently released report that the outflow of Chinese migrants has brought both positive and negative effects. On the one hand, overseas Chinese have made great contributions to the economy of the countries where they work, but on the other hand,...

  • Call to ratify Migrants’ Convention

    March 2007 - World

    Jorge Bustamante, UN special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, called on UN member states to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families adopted by the General Assembly in 1990 and entered into force in 2003....

  • Uzbek refugees returning home

    March 2007 - Uzbekistan

    Uzbeks who fled the country following the government’s crackdown on protests in the eastern city of Andijan began to return home despite uncertainty and fear of repression. Sixty have returned home from the US alone. Rachel Denber of Human Rights Watch is suspicious of the Uzbek government’s...

  • Irregular migrant workers nabbed at construction site

    March 2007 - Macau SAR

    Police have arrested some 38 irregular migrant workers following a five-hour raid at a hotel-casino construction site. According to initial reports, 28 of those arrested were holding mainland passports but had no permits to work in Macao, one had a bogus travel document and nine were found...

  • 37 foreign workers nabbed over immigration, labor violations

    March 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    Labor and immigration enforcement officers arrested some 37 foreign workers in various operations and routine inspections conducted from 21-29 March. Of this number, eight were arrested for immigration offenses, such as possession of expired visas or having no valid documents. They include four...

  • Guest workers in US routinely exploited: Report

    March 2007 - World

    Migrant workers who come to the US as short-term guest workers often find themselves cheated out of wages, forced to endure squalid living conditions and denied proper medical care for work-related injuries. This was disclosed in the report, “Close to Slavery: Guestworker Programs in the United...

  • More than enough jobs for Singaporeans

    March 2007 - Singapore

    Manpower Minister Ng Eng Hen explained that there was more than enough jobs for Singaporeans to fill and stressed that locals continue to enjoy priority over foreign workers in the job market. Last year, Singapore was able to create some 173,000 jobs, but locals could fill only 30,000 of these....

  • Karen refugees flee to Thailand anew

    March 2007 - Thailand

    Renewed violence in military-controlled Burma has pushed some 300 ethnic Karen minority people to flee to western Thailand. Most of the displaced persons who crossed the border to Tak province were women and children, Col. Kasem Tanaporn of the Thai army reported. There are some 150,000 Karen...

  • Rally to protest new POEA deployment rules for domestic workers

    March 2007 - Philippines

    Several migrant groups are planning to stage a rally on 1 March in front of the Labor Department’s office in Manila to protest against the government’s new hiring policies for domestic workers. Similar rallies would be held in Hong Kong, Macau, Cotabato, Iloilo and Zamboanga. According to the...

  • Malaysia mulls new measures vs. irregular migrants

    March 2007 - Malaysia

    Immigration enforcement director Ishak Mohamed announced that the government is targeting to arrest some 400,000-500,000 irregular migrants this year and apprehend the employers hiring them. The Immigration Department has mobilized the citizens’ volunteer corps, known as Rela, to assist law...

  • Migrant workers need info on HIV/AIDS

    March 2007 - Indonesia

    Alan Boulton, director of the Indonesian office of the International Labor Organization (ILO), has called on Jakarta to raise migrant workers’ knowledge of HIV/AIDS. According to Boulton, HIV infection rates have been consistently high among migrant workers. He challenged the Indonesian...

  • Indonesian sentenced to jail, caning for overstaying

    March 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    Indonesian migrant worker, Achmad Soegiman Nurifki, 26, was sentenced by the Bandar Magistrate’s Court to seven months in prison and three strokes of the cane for overstaying in Brunei after his social visit pass expired on 10 October 2005. He was arrested on 13 March after failing to produce...

  • Govt bans overseas employment of mothers with young children

    March 2007 - Sri Lanka

    In an attempt to tackle the problems facing young children left behind by mothers due to labor migration, the Cabinet approved on 7 March a new legislation prohibiting mothers with children below five years old from going abroad for employment. Moreover, under the new law, those with children above...

  • Nobel laureate proposes common SAARC passport

    March 2007 - Bangladesh

    Nobel laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus urged South Asian countries to introduce a common SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) passport to ease the movement of people across borders. The move would likewise enhance cultural and other relations among citizens of the South Asian...

  • EU, Pakistan to sign agreement on irregular migration

    March 2007 - Pakistan

    An agreement the government is poised to sign with the European Union (EU) would allow the deportation to Pakistan of all irregular migrants found entering the EU through this country, regardless of their nationality. In exchange, the EU has agreed to encourage its members to enhance migration...

  • Nepal urged to use rights-based approach for anti- trafficking program

    March 2007 - Nepal

    Lena Sundh, a representative of the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights in Nepal, spoke before a national gathering of Shakti Samuha, an organization of survivors of human trafficking, in Kathmandu on 7 March. In her speech, Sundh said that victims of the worst forms of human...

  • India to sign labor agreements with Gulf countries

    March 2007 - India

    India is planning to sign labor agreements with several Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, to protect the interests of Indian migrant workers. The agreement, according to Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi, would cover the salary, benefits and working conditions...

  • Bhutanese refugees urged to submit applications for resettlement

    March 2007 - Bhutan

    UNHCR’s representative in Nepal, Abraham Abraham, has called on the Bhutanese refugees in Nepal to submit their applications if they wish to be resettled to a third country. He said that three options were open to the Bhutanese refugees – resettlement in a third country, repatriation to...

  • Trafficking of women and children

    March 2007 - Bangladesh

    Bangladesh is a source and transit country for men, women and children trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation, involuntary domestic servitude, child camel jockeying and debt bondage. According to an NGO source, an estimated 200,000 Bangladeshi women and children have been trafficked to...

  • NZ benefiting from immigration

    March 2007 - New Zealand

    New Zealand admitted 14,609 immigrants last year, more than double the figure for 2005 at 6,971, the government reported. According to a newly released report by Immigration Minister David Cunliffe, the country was benefiting from immigration. Some 90 percent of skilled migrants were satisfied or...

  • House passes bill regulating entry of tourist patients

    March 2007 - Other Pacific

    The House of Representatives has passed a bill regulating the entry of foreign visitors to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) for the purpose of medical treatment. The legislation is intended to ensure that tourist patients will not cause undue economic burden on the...

  • Uncertain future for 83 Sri Lankan asylum seekers

    March 2007 - Australia

    The Australian government is still in negotiations with the governments of Indonesia and Nauru over the fate of 83 Sri Lankan asylum seekers intercepted by the Australian navy aboard a fishing vessel last month, said Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews. Early this month, Australian officials...

  • UAE to introduce unified contract for domestic workers

    March 2007 - United Arab Emirates

    Interior Minister Shaikh Saif bin Zayed al-Nahyan announced on 4 March details of a new unified contract for foreign domestic workers that would be implemented starting 1 April. The new standard contract allegedly intends to provide transparency in the relationship between domestic workers and...

  • 150 irregular immigrants to be deported

    March 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    During a recent crackdown operation at the Al-Khair Bridge where a large number of irregular immigrants have been residing since the Haj season, the police discovered some serious violations committed by Haj companies. Some of those arrested complained that after completing their pilgrimage, the...

  • New sponsorship law up for Cabinet approval

    March 2007 - Qatar

    Minister of State for Interior Affairs H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani announced that the draft of a new sponsorship legislation seeking to ease the relations between workers and sponsors has been referred to the State Cabinet for approval. Earlier, the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and...

  • 20 runaway Asian domestic workers nabbed

    March 2007 - Kuwait

    Authorities rounded up some 20 Asian female workers of a cleaning services company who happened to be runaway domestic workers. The crackdown on the residency law violators stemmed from the arrest of a cleaning worker accused of stealing cellphones and other items from several patients at a...

  • Crackdown vs. irregular migrant workers

    March 2007 - Israel

    Israeli authorities have launched several crackdowns against some 80,000 or more irregular migrant workers from Asia and Africa to reduce their number and cut unemployment rates among the Jews. In the last five years Israel has deported some 55,000 irregular migrant workers. Another 85,000...

  • Iraqi refugees continue to flee to Syria

    March 2007 - Iraq

    Iraqi refugees welcomed Damascus’ decision to relax measures governing their stay in Syria. Previously, as soon as their residency permits expire, Iraqi refugees had to leave Syria for one month before re-applying for a new one. Under the new rules, Iraqis are now allowed to stay in Syria for a...

  • Iran building concrete wall along Pakistani border

    March 2007 - Iran

    In a bid to prevent unauthorized border crossings, Iran has decided to build a concrete wall along its border with Pakistan, from the town Taftan to the Mand area in the Turbat district of Balochistan. The construction of the wall, measuring 10 feet high and three feet wide, was started a month...

  • Bahrain urged to impose minimum wage for foreign workers

    March 2007 - Bahrain

    Bangladeshi Ambassador Ruhul Amin urged the Bahraini government to introduce a minimum wage for foreign migrant workers. The envoy made the call following the recent approval of a BD200 minimum wage for Bahraini nationals that would make their pay scale three or four times higher than that of...

  • UNHCR to assist return of 250,000 Afghan refugees this year

    March 2007 - Afghanistan

    The UNHCR said it would facilitate the repatriation of some 250,000 Afghan refugees from Pakistan and Iran in 2007. Of the 2.4 million Afghans presently in Pakistan, about 2.18 million had been issued proof of registration cards that allow them to continue staying in Pakistan for three years....

  • Migrant workers in Taiwan breach 340,000 mark

    March 2007 - Taiwan

    The Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) revealed that the number of migrant workers in Taiwan has reached 341,871, as of the end of January 2007, due to the increasing influx of foreign caregivers and domestic workers. Of this number, 179,002 or 50 percent of the foreign...

  • 81 Chinese migrants held in Mexico

    March 2007 - China PR

    Some 81 Chinese migrants found hiding at the Cancun airport terminal in Mexico were detained by Mexican federal police on 9 March. The Chinese, including 53 men and 28 women, allegedly arrived in Mexico on a flight from Europe the day before. The federal police also detained some 22 agents of the...

  • Industrial accident compensation payments in 2006

    March 2007 - Republic of Korea

    The Korea Labor Welfare Corporation revealed that in 2006 the government reimbursed over ($70 million) in industrial accident insurance to some 4,963 migrant workers. Of these payments, 44 percent or 30 billion won were given to 1,531 irregular migrant workers while the rest was paid to 2,891...

  • Migrant workers at a record high

    March 2007 - Japan

    As of June 1, 2006, data from the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry indicated a record high of 222,929 foreigners employed directly by Japanese companies. This figure marked the highest total since the government began collecting such data in 1993. Some 45 percent of these migrant workers came...

  • US accused of violating irregular immigrants’ rights

    February 2007 - World

    The American Bar Association (ABA) has accused the US government of violating the rights of irregular immigrants by keeping them in detention, often far from their families and from legal assistance and sometimes, even in tents. ABA opposes the involuntary transfer of detained immigrants and...

  • Burmese migrant workers kept under slave-like conditions in Thai factory

    February 2007 - Thailand

    Some 66 Burmese migrant workers who had been held in a Thai seafood factory west of Bangkok for between six months and seven years were rescued by the Human Trafficking Multidisciplinary Organization of Thailand in September 2006. The workers were allegedly confined in water tanks and underground...

  • Non-binding nature of ASEAN declaration slammed

    February 2007 - Philippines

    Advocacy groups criticized the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers signed last month in Cebu, Philippines. According to them the non-binding nature of the ASEAN declaration allowed member countries to continue violating the rights of migrant workers....

  • Opt-in insurance scheme for foreign workers mulled

    February 2007 - Singapore

    Manpower Minister Ng Eng Hen said the ministry is presently considering an opt-in insurance scheme that employers can avail of to provide hospitalization coverage for their foreign workers. This scheme is expected to reduce the insurance cost to employers through economies of scale. The move...

  • POEA to spearhead intensified campaign vs illegal recruitment, human trafficking

    February 2007 - Philippines

    Labor Secretary Arturo Brion declared that, on the basis of new Executive Order No. 548-A, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) would lead the intensified government campaign against illegal recruitment and human trafficking although the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO)...

  • Foreign women and a local man held on prostitution charges

    February 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    The Anti-Vice and Gambling Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department, Royal Brunei Police Force detained four foreign women and a local pimp on 13 February on charges of involvement in prostitution activities at a house in Jalan Chempaka near the capital. The suspects face up to five years...

  • 33 human traffickers sentenced to life imprisonment

    February 2007 - Burma

    Thirty-three human traffickers were sentenced to life imprisonment by the Yamethin district special court in the Mandalay division for trafficking 49 young Burmese women to a neighboring country over the last three months. They were among 51 locals arrested by the police on human trafficking...

  • Vietnam aims to deploy 80,000 migrant workers

    February 2007 - Vietnam

    Vietnamese labor export companies are set to send more than 80,000 migrant workers abroad this year in accordance with the government’s request, said Nguyen Thanh Hoa, Head of the Department of Overseas Labor (DOL). According to Hoa, the labor export sector will concentrate on updating...

  • Proposed foreign workers bill aims to improve security

    February 2007 - Malaysia

    On 17 February, police inspector general Tan Sri Musa Hassan came up with a suggestion to confine migrant workers to their workplaces and adopt a logbook system to record their movements to ensure that they do not get involved in crime. Shortly after, Home Affairs Minister Mohamad Radzi Sheikh...

  • Indonesia set to ratify UN convention on migrant workers

    February 2007 - Indonesia

    Indonesia will soon ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and Their Families in a bid to protect the rights of its citizens employed overseas. Suryana Sastradiredja, Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Deputy Director of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs was quoted as saying that...

  • Overseas deployment of Sri Lankan workers drops in 2006

    February 2007 - Sri Lanka

    For the first time in ten years, a sharp drop was recorded in the number of Sri Lankans leaving for overseas employment in 2006. From a total of 231,290 in 2005, the number of overseas migrant workers declined to 201,143 last year, i.e., a 13 percent reduction. According to the Foreign Employment...

  • Accent hinders South Asians in the US?

    February 2007 - India

    Most Indian and other South Asian doctors, IT professionals and scientists in the US generally do not have a problem with the English language. However, their South Asian accent appears to be impeding effective communication, particularly in such fields as medicine and sales. To address this...

  • Pakistan to repatriate all Afghan refugees in 3 years

    February 2007 - Pakistan

    An Inter-ministerial Cabinet Committee headed by Interior Minister Ahmed Khan Sherpao developed a strategy to repatriate all Afghan refugees living in Pakistan over the next three years. Under this strategy, Pakistan would close down four Afghan refugee camps in Balochistan and the NWFP this...

  • Locals and refugees clash in Eastern Nepal

    February 2007 - Nepal

    The Morang district administration has imposed an indefinite curfew in Pathari, Sanischare and adjacent areas near the Bhutanese refugee camp in eastern Nepal’s Morang district from 4:00 pm on 23 February after more than 150 people were injured in clashes between locals and refugees. The...

  • Indian migrants nabbed for breaking foreign laws

    February 2007 - India

    Eleven Indian irregular migrant workers were recently arrested by Immigration Department officers in Zambia and given a week’s time to leave the country. The Indians were found working for the Universal Mining Company in Kafue without the necessary work permits and were each fined 1.08 million...

  • 12 Malaysia-bound Burmese Muslims nabbed in Cox’s Bazar

    February 2007 - Bangladesh

    Bangladeshi police raided a hotel in Cox’s Bazar and arrested 12 Burmese Muslims from Maungdaw, a border town of the Arakan State near Bangladesh. The Burmese nationals were allegedly getting ready to leave for Malaysia by sea after paying 10,000 taka each to a broker. They will be charged for...

  • NZ to target skilled migrants from Asia

    February 2007 - New Zealand

    In a major immigration policy shift, New Zealand has announced plans to recruit skilled migrant workers from Asia, particularly from such countries as India and China, to address acute labor shortages. The recruitment plan is part of efforts to enable New Zealand to compete with other developed...

  • Australia urged to stop issuing 457 visas due to abuses

    February 2007 - Australia

    The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) is urging the federal government to stop issuing 457 temporary migrant visas in the Northern Territories in the wake of alleged abuses of the guest worker scheme. According to CFMEU national assistant secretary David Noonan, several...

  • UAE to build 25 workers’ cities

    February 2007 - United Arab Emirates

    The UAE government has decided to build 25 workers’ cities in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain over the next five years. This is in response to the need to provide suitable, clean and healthy accommodations to the country’s migrant workers. Work on the first five workers’ cities in Abu Dhabi, which is...

  • African migrants die in Gulf of Aden

    February 2007 - Yemen

    Some 107 Somali and Ethiopian migrants drowned in the Gulf of Aden off Yemen’s coast on 12 February. They were passengers aboard two boats that sailed from Puntland in Somalia. According to Ron Redmond, a spokesperson for the UNHCR, one of the boats capsized while the other boat offloaded its...

  • MoU needed to improve Indonesian domestic workers’ conditions

    February 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    Indonesia’s consul-general Jatout Noori said one of the major reasons for the labor problems experienced by Indonesian domestic workers in Saudi Arabia is the lack of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two countries specifying the rights and obligations of both employers and...

  • Stricter action urged against errant expat workers, sponsors

    February 2007 - Qatar

    The Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI) urged the government to impose tighter measures against errant foreign workers and sponsors who connive with them in the light of the rising cases of sponsorship violations. According to Nazzar Al Mir, chairperson of the QCCI’s contracting...

  • Partial amnesty offered to overstayers

    February 2007 - Oman

    Labor Affairs undersecretary Sayyid Hamad Bin Hilal Al Busaidi announced a partial amnesty for overstaying foreign workers Oman. Al Busaidi said that the expatriate workers stranded in Oman before 1993 would be given a chance to either regularize their stay or leave the country without having to...

  • Lebanese worker killed by Nigerian militants

    February 2007 - Lebanon

    One Lebanese worker was killed and another was seriously injured in southern Nigeria’s Rivers State on 23 February after unidentified gunmen shot at them while they were on their way to the airport. Earlier, a Lebanese ENI oil worker who had been taken hostage by Nigerian militants on 7...

  • RP to appeal death sentence for domestic worker

    February 2007 - Kuwait

    The Philippine Embassy will appeal the decision of a Kuwaiti court upholding the death sentence on Filipina domestic worker, Marilou Ranario, 33, who has been found guilty of murdering her employer in September 2005. Ranario’s case can be appealed before the Court of Cassation one more time,...

  • Govt attempts to phase out foreign workers’ jobs

    February 2007 - Israel

    According to Esther Dominicini, director general of the National Employment Service, some 200,000 unemployed Israelis could potentially take over the jobs currently occupied by foreign workers in various sectors, such as construction, agriculture, industry, restaurant service and elderly care....

  • Displaced Iraqis seek refuge in Syria, Egypt

    February 2007 - Iraq

    The influx of a hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees to neighboring Syria has reportedly triggered a housing and school crisis in the country. Prices of housing and commodities have allegedly gone up and the estimated 75,000 Iraqi students enrolled in Syrian schools have overburdened the...

  • Bahrain awaiting passage of anti-trafficking bill

    February 2007 - Bahrain

    Social Development Minister Fatima Al Balooshi said the Parliament is expected to pass a bill that would criminalize human trafficking in Bahrain. Al Balooshi revealed this at a roundtable discussion tackling the issue of human trafficking held at the Intercontinental Regency Bahrain on 19...

  • Irregular migrants detained in poor facilities

    February 2007 - Republic of Korea

    The results of a National Human Rights Commission survey on 18 alien protection facilities under the Immigration Office showed that the facilities were cramped, unhygienic and substandard based on the lowest criteria set by the United Nations. Published in January 2006, the report noted that 34...

  • Name change in Korea allows re-entry of deportees to Japan

    February 2007 - Japan

    Police and immigration authorities in Osaka reported that 44-year old Korean woman, Choe Mi Gyon, who was arrested in April 2006 and subsequently deported for immigration violations, had re-entered Japan on two occasions under a new name. A Korean high court ruling in November 2005 facilitating...

  • Labor shortages in Guangdong, Shanghai

    February 2007 - China PR

    As many as 60 percent of the employers in Guangdong Province experienced labor shortages in 2006, according to a recent survey conducted by the local labor department. The province has been experiencing such shortfall of manpower over the past three years. Manufacturing, wholesale, retail and...

  • MOFA unaware of fugitive’s repatriation

    February 2007 - Taiwan

    The local media reported that the US had decided to repatriate Rebar founder, Wang You-theng, who is wanted by Taiwan authorities for embezzlement of billions of funds from his company before leaving the country. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied any information about the media reports. It...

  • Immigration scam players jailed

    February 2007 - Hong Kong SAR

    Two Taiwanese residents, Kuo Chi-Sheng and Lo Yun-ti, and one mainlander, Jiang Jing-fang, were sent to jail ranging from 20 to 26 months by the District Court on 15 February for their involvement in an immigration scam. Immigration investigations found that in August 2006, Lo checked in on a...

  • Sending remittances via mobile phone systems

    February 2007 - World

    A new scheme is currently being considered by mobile phone operators and banks that would enable immigrants and migrant workers abroad to use their phones to send remittances home. The global scheme enjoys the support of some 19 mobile firms with networks in over 100 countries representing more...

  • Target deployment for 2007 - 80,000 workers

    February 2007 - Vietnam

    The Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs plans to increase overseas labor deployment to 80,000 this year; some 78,000 Vietnamese workers were deployed abroad in 2006. To meet the target, the ministry has to explore new markets for Vietnamese migrant workers and at the same time...

  • Better facilities in workers’ dormitories

    February 2007 - Singapore

    The Building and Construction Authority issued a new directive requiring contractors to provide various amenities for the daily and recreational needs of their foreign workers in new sites for workers’ dormitories. This means foreign workers would soon be able to shop for groceries, get a...

  • Thailand will not force Hmong refugees to go back to Laos: PM

    February 2007 - Thailand

    Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont clarified on 31 January that Thailand does not plan to use force in deporting Hmong refugees back to Laos. He said only those who volunteer to go back would be sent to Laos while those who wish to go to a third country willing to accept them would be allowed to...

  • New deployment policy on domestic workers amended

    February 2007 - Philippines

    The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Governing Board is determined to amend two provisions in its new deployment policy on domestic workers, which have been opposed by some groups. The Labor Department’s resolution lowered the minimum age requirement for domestic workers...

  • More than 70,000 foreigners working in Brunei in 2005

    February 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    According to data from the Labor Department, as of 2005 some 70,764 foreign workers were registered in Brunei, and at least 6,000 of them are permanent residents in the Sultanate. Around 23,287 foreign workers were employed in the construction industry.

  • Govt asked to intervene for Indonesians on death row abroad

    February 2007 - Indonesia

    According to the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry, there are 21 Indonesian migrant workers facing death sentences abroad. Fifteen of them had been convicted in Malaysia for marijuana possession, while two received the death sentence in Singapore and four in Saudi Arabia for involvement in...

  • Home Ministry set to manage, control foreign workers

    February 2007 - Malaysia

    The Foreign Worker Bill, which will be tabled in Parliament next month, would allow the Home Ministry to control and manage some 1.9 million foreign migrant workers from the moment they set foot in Malaysia until the time they leave. The bill would authorize the Home Ministry to take over some of...

  • Canada to accept additional 2,000 Karen refugees

    February 2007 - Burma

    Canada has decided to accept 2,000 more Karen refugees from the remote Mae La Oon and the Mae Ra Ma Luang camps in Thailand over the next two years. This is in response to the call of the UNHCR for nations to help resettle Karen refugees who have been living under poor conditions and are in...

  • Sri Lanka eyes deployment of more skilled workers abroad

    February 2007 - Sri Lanka

    At present, some 125,000 female and 50,000 male workers are leaving the country annually for overseas employment are unskilled, while only about 40,000 to 50,000 are skilled. According to Dr. T. A. Piyasiri, director-general of the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TEVC), the...

  • EU to deport Pakistani irregular immigrants

    February 2007 - Pakistan

    The Cabinet has approved the draft of the re-admission agreement that would authorize European Union (EU) to crack down on Pakistani irregular immigrants in Europe. Under the agreement, the EU could send back to Pakistan all irregular immigrants in Europe who are Pakistani nationals or holders of...

  • Food donation for Bhutanese refugees

    February 2007 - Nepal

    The US donated $1.8 million to the UN World Food Program for the benefit of some 100,000 Bhutanese refugees living in various refugee camps in Nepal. The refugees have been living in seven camps in southeast Nepal since the early 1990s when they were expelled by Bhutanese authorities promoting a...

  • Bangladeshi migrant workers need better linguistic, technical skills

    February 2007 - Bangladesh

    An official of the Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment (EWOE) noted that he lack of linguistic and technical skills of Bangladeshi migrant workers would not only hinder their quick adjustment in workplaces but also bar them from taking well-paid jobs in Canada. The Bangladeshi...

  • New schemes to generate jobs, protect the interests of overseas Indians

    February 2007 - India

    The Ministry of State for Labor and Employment has set up a scheme to award government certificates to Indian craftsmen and technicians who have mastered traditional skills in an effort to generate employment and upgrade the skills of the workforce. The ministry expects certified workers to...

  • Changes in 457 visa system urged

    February 2007 - Australia

    Victorian Workplace Rights Advocate Tony Lawrence has called on the federal government to implement changes in the Immigration Department and the foreign worker visa system to ensure that guest workers are not deprived of their rights. Lawrence was reacting to reports that Filipino electricians...

  • Strong net inflow of migrants noted in 2006

    February 2007 - New Zealand

    New Zealand had a net gain of 1,160 people in December, bringing the total population net gain to 14,610 for 2006, according to Statistics New Zealand. In 2006, a total of 82,700 permanent and long-term arrivals were recorded, up five percent on 2005 figures while those leaving the country on a...

  • CLA to discuss new minimum wage standards for migrant workers

    February 2007 - Taiwan

    The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) is set to discuss the proposed minimum wage hike, which has stood at NT $15,840 for the past nine years. Lee Ying-yuan, CLA chairperson, believes the upward wage adjustment is necessary now that more than 90 percent of Taiwanese are earning over NT$20,000 a...

  • New laws for human rights protection of migrant workers

    February 2007 - Republic of Korea

    Korea passed new laws aimed at protecting migrant workers from abuse and exploitation, particularly discriminatory acts of employers. Among these is the New Labor Relations Act, which establishes the Commission for Discrimination Correction as an entity of the Labor Relations Commission tasked to...

  • Magazine accused of promoting xenophobia

    February 2007 - Japan

    A glossy magazine now selling in mainstream bookstores in Japan is allegedly encouraging hatred of foreigners. The 100-page Secret Files of Foreigners’ Crimes, published by Eichi, contains photographs, comic strips and articles describing various foreign-led crimes in Japan. It uses racial...

  • HK attracts capital, talents

    February 2007 - Hong Kong SAR

    Hong Kong has attracted billions of dollars in investments and a wide array of talented individuals through successful immigration policies introduced over the past years, the Immigration Department reported. One such policy is the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme, which has successfully...

  • Chinese nationals are world’s largest migrant group

    February 2007 - China PR

    Thirty-five million Chinese are living and working in some 151 countries, making them the world’s largest migrant group, said a report from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Li Xiaoli, one of the researchers of the report, attributes the mounting outflow of Chinese migrants to economic...

  • Labor Dept mulls punitive measures for errant companies

    February 2007 - Qatar

    The Department of Labor is considering amending some of the key provisions of the new labor law to allow for punitive measures particularly against companies that have been defaulting on the payment of their workers’ salaries for three months or more. The department said it would ban...

  • Somali, Ethiopian migrants drown off Yemeni coast

    February 2007 - Yemen

    According to the UNHCR, at least 30 Somali and Ethiopian migrants who were headed for the Arabian Peninsula drowned after their boat capsized off Yemen. The sea mishap occurred on 12 February as the vessel attempting to smuggle some 120 passengers across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen capsized as it...

  • Bangladeshi worker dies in freak accident

    February 2007 - Kuwait

    A Bangladeshi worker died instantly when a gas cylinder fell on his head in a freak accident. According to reports on the incident, an ironsmith was working on a building using the gas cylinder when the tubes holding it suddenly broke causing the heavy cylinder to fall to the ground from a height...

  • Crackdown against irregular migrant workers recommended

    February 2007 - Oman

    Delegates to a Sumayil symposium on sustainable agricultural development and the regulation of the labor market that ended on 12 February are advocating for a crackdown on irregular migrant manpower. They urged the government to put in place a new mechanism to prevent employers from hiring...

  • UNHCR seeks global support for Iraqi refugees

    February 2007 - Iraq

    The UNHCR in Damascus has noted a dramatic rise in the number of Iraqi refugees who have sought the agency’s assistance. On 11-12 February alone, over 5,000 Iraqis were registered in UNHCR’s office in Syria. The escalating violence in Iraq has forced more than two million Iraqis to flee their...

  • 2 manpower agencies fined for hiring 29 unauthorized migrant workers

    February 2007 - Israel

    The Be’er Sheva Labor Court imposed a fine of NIS six million on two human resource companies, Shahak Security Services and Aboudi Manpower, for allegedly employing foreign workers beyond the allowed time period and without proper working papers. The companies’ managers, Rami Barehet and...

  • 7,608 irregular migrants deported in 2006

    February 2007 - Bahrain

    According to General Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Residence finance and human resources director Nayef Al Sherooqi, Bahrain has deported some 7,608 irregular migrants of 70 nationalities last year. This is higher than the 7,182 deported in the previous year. The joint inspection...

  • New measures to protect migrant workers’ rights

    February 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    Labor Minister Ghazi Al-Gosaibi has decided on two vital measures seeking to safeguard the rights of some seven million migrant workers in the kingdom. The first measure imposes a one-year recruitment ban on companies that delay the payment of their workers’ salaries for two consecutive months....

  • Compensation packages released for blaze victims

    February 2007 - United Arab Emirates

    Compensation packages were released by the Fortune Investment Group on 1 February for some 44 workers affected by the deadly Fortune Tower fire, including two fatalities. The group awarded compensation worth 12 years’ salaries to the two workers who died in the blaze – an Indian and a...

  • Exodus of Lebanese nationals on the rise

    February 2007 - Lebanon

    Thousands of Lebanese, particularly the youth and the skilled workers, have been leaving the country in search of better job opportunities and new lives abroad. Many of them are allegedly wary of Lebanon’s political instability, which was put to the fore during last year’s war between Israel...

  • Report cites benefits of migration

    January 2007 - World

    The World Bank report entitled, Migration and Remittances: Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union highlighted the benefits of migration for both sending and receiving countries. According to the report, migration could reduce poverty among migrants if policies are better coordinated between...

  • Russia to implement stricter migration policy

    January 2007 - Uzbekistan

    Moscow has approved a new migration legislation introducing quotas for foreign workers and prohibiting market trading by foreigners starting April 2007. The quota for 2007 has been set at six million people. The new legislation affects some 2.5 million Uzbeks, about a million Tajiks and 800,000...

  • Appeal for displaced people

    January 2007 - East Timor

    Timor Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta joined United Nations special representative Atuk Khare in launching an appeal for $16.6 million to help in the resettlement and reintegration of some 100,000 people displaced in last year’s violence. The amount would be used in the implementation of...

  • Hanoi, Seoul agree to enhance cooperation on labor-related issues

    January 2007 - Vietnam

    Vietnam and the Republic of Korea have agreed to strengthen cooperation in the area of labor resources at a meeting involving relevant authorities from both countries in Hanoi on 26 January. Both sides expressed determination to honor their commitments to support Korean businesses in Vietnam and...

  • Deportation of Hmong refugees called off

    January 2007 - Thailand

    Thailand was forced to call off the planned deportation of some 153 Hmong refugees to Laos on 30 January after 54 men barricaded themselves inside cells in the Nong Khai Immigration Detention Center and threatened to commit suicide. The situation prompted Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont not...

  • ASEAN reaches agreement to protect migrant workers

    January 2007 - Philippines

    A landmark agreement to protect the rights of migrant workers was reached during the recent ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) summit held in Cebu, Philippines. The accord specifies a political commitment by member countries to uphold the rights of millions of migrant workers across...

  • Construction boom will require more foreign workers

    January 2007 - Singapore

    Singapore will need 50,000 more foreign workers in the next few years as major construction projects get underway. For this year, the country will initiate major development projects, including the construction of two casino resorts and the Business and Financial Center. Construction firms are...

  • More than 1-M OFWs deployed in 2006

    January 2007 - Philippines

    Labor Secretary Arturo Brion announced that the country has deployed a total of 1,083,568 Filipino workers to over 190 countries worldwide in 2006. This is 9.6 percent higher than the global deployment of 988,615 in 2006. The deployment of new hires in the land-based sector reached 310,734 in...

  • Neighborhood watch teams monitor irregular immigrants

    January 2007 - Malaysia

    Datuk Dr. Maximus Ongkili, minister in the prime minister’s department, revealed that for the first 12 months, the 220 neighborhood watch committees are mandated to submit monthly reports regarding the presence of irregular immigrants in their communities. Thereafter they would only be required...

  • Demand for domestic workers in Brunei

    January 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    The Philippine Embassy in Brunei has started implementing the new regulations concerning the hiring of Filipino domestic workers; it has processed the documents of 20 Filipino domestic workers at the new wage rate of BD600 ($400). Meanwhile, several employment agencies in Brunei have observed an...

  • Human trafficking still a problem in Indonesia

    January 2007 - Indonesia

    Indonesia is allegedly o the brink of being downgraded to the tier three watch list of countries with poor commitment to fighting trafficking by the US State Department for its allegedly failure to address the problem. Migrant Care director Wahyu Susilo said that Indonesia has not made any...

  • Refugees continue to flee violence in eastern Sri Lanka

    January 2007 - Sri Lanka

    Over 25,000 Sri Lankan refugees have fled the Tamil Tiger-controlled territory in Eastern Sri Lanka ahead of a looming military operation to wrest control of the area. Some refugees who were caught in the crossfire claimed that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had used them as human...

  • South Asia beset by trafficking problems

    January 2007 - India

    According to the World Report on Women’s Health 2006 by S. Huda, some 225,000 of the one to two million trafficked individuals worldwide are from South Asia. Majority of sex trafficking in the region involving adolescent girls allegedly occurs in India, both trans-border and in-country. About...

  • 31 Lebanon-bound women held over forged documents

    January 2007 - Bangladesh

    Police and immigration authorities are currently investigating the case of 31 Lebanon-bound women who were held at the Zia International Airport on 17 November for possession of fake emigration clearances or forged passports. The police have since filed a case against 38 people suspected of...

  • Nepal eyeing S. Korean labor market

    January 2007 - Nepal

    Visiting South Korean Labor Minister Lee Sang-soo expressed satisfaction over Nepal’s ongoing preparations to meet the basic requirements for sending workers to Korea. In his meeting with Nepal’s Labor and Transport Minister, Ramesh Lekhak, on 28 January, he said the Korean government would...

  • Irregular immigrants nabbed in US

    January 2007 - India

    More than 750 irregular immigrants from some 14 countries, including India, were arrested by US immigration officials during week-long raids in five southland counties of Los Angeles. Immigration officials also took custody of 423 foreign nationals detained in local jails who are ready for...

  • Pakistanis detained over fake travel documents

    January 2007 - Pakistan

    Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri informed the Senate that over the past three years a total of 1,264 Pakistanis had been detained in some 31 countries for having fake documents and visas. This includes 428 arrested in the UK, 311 in Saudi Arabia, 88 in Germany, 87 in Singapore, 52 in...

  • Ideological battle on migrant settlement policy

    January 2007 - Australia

    Labor and the Coalition are currently locked in a battle of ideology over settlement policies for new immigrants to Australia. The Coalition is pushing for scrapping the use of the term, multiculturalism, and wants to heighten the importance of citizenship. On the other hand, Labor wants to...

  • Six-month limit of work-to-residence visas to be extended

    January 2007 - New Zealand

    Ethnic Affairs Minister Chris Carter admitted that the controversial six-month limit on work permits for borderline skilled immigrants has not been working and plans to take it up at the Cabinet table. A review of the policy revealed that only three percent of migrants on work-to-residence visas...

  • Unified contract for domestic workers mulled

    January 2007 - United Arab Emirates

    Brigadier Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, director of the Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department, met with representatives of the Indian, Indonesian, Sri Lankan and Ethiopian missions on 22 January to discuss the possibility of drafting a unified domestic worker contract. The said contract would...

  • New govt projects require many workers

    January 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    According to Abdullah ibn Hamad Al-Ammar, chairperson of the National Committee for Contractors, at least 1.2 million recruitment visas for engineers, skilled workers and laborers have to be issued just to meet the requirement of contractors for government projects. Ammar made the statement...

  • Stranded workers are in dire conditions

    January 2007 - Qatar

    Dozens of foreign workers of a plumbing company are reportedly being forced to endure poor living conditions in four labor camps in the Industrial Area, Maizer, Azizia and Duhail almost two months after they have resigned from their jobs. Despite repeated requests, the company has allegedly...

  • Protest over Filipino domestic workers’ wage hike

    January 2007 - Kuwait

    The Kuwait Union for Domestic Labor Office (Kudlo), an organization working with domestic workers in the country, staged a sit-in protest at the Philippine Embassy on 24 January. The group protested the minimum monthly salary of $400 for Filipino domestic workers set by the Philippine government....

  • Israeli asylum seekers are making spurious claims

    January 2007 - Israel

    The Israeli newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, cited Foreign Ministry data indicating that since 2000, at least 3,000 Israelis had filed for asylum in Canada claiming fear of Palestinian terror attacks or spousal abuse. Israeli ambassador to Canada Alan Baker warned Canadian authorities not to be duped...

  • Iraqi refugee crisis looms

    January 2007 - Iraq

    Humanitarian spokesperson, Kararam Mufarah, warned of a looming refugee crisis as Iraq’s neighbors as well as western countries are starting to close their doors to Iraqi refugees. According to UNHCR, close to one million Iraqis have fled to Syria, another 700,000 to Jordan, about 20,000-80,000...

  • Bahrain mulls new labor laws

    January 2007 - Bahrain

    Labor Minister Majeed bin Mohsin Al Alawi revealed plans to come up with a collective labor agreement to protect foreign migrant workers, mostly Asians, employed in Bahrain. According to Al Alawi, an arbitration commission would also be created to settle differences between unions and businesses....

  • Pakistan asked EU to help repatriate Afghan refugees

    January 2007 - Afghanistan

    Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz called on the European Union to help in repatriating some three million Afghan refugees living in Pakistan to rid the country of militants engaging in terrorist activities in the border regions. According to Aziz, Islamabad wants to restrict the cross-border...

  • Conference tackles exploitation, abuse of foreign workers

    January 2007 - Taiwan

    Wang Tseng-yung of the Institute of Health and Welfare Policy, Yang Ming University, highlighted the need to raise awareness, especially among young people, about the exploitation and abuse of foreign workers in the country. Wang made the statement at the first International Action and...

  • South Korea eyes inclusion in US visa waiver program

    January 2007 - Republic of Korea

    South Korea is hoping to be included in the proposed expansion of the American visa waiver program (VWP) proposed by both the US Senate and the House of Representatives. The House bill introduced by Rep. Philip English proposes a pilot program that would allow up to five countries to join the VWP...

  • Fair labor conditions proposed for Filipino nurses, caregivers

    January 2007 - Japan

    The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has prepared a draft guideline for the hiring of Filipino nurses and caregivers in Japan. According to the guideline, Filipino nurses and caregivers should receive the same wage rates as their Japanese counterparts. Japan is set to accept up to 1,000...

  • East Asia facing labor market challenges

    January 2007 - Philippines

    According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), East Asia’s labor market has been unable to keep pace with its economic development. The ILO Global Employment Trends report indicated that although there was an 8 percent increase in East Asia’s economic growth last year, the...

  • Filipino domestic workers protest new rules

    January 2007 - Hong Kong SAR

    Some 5,000 Filipino domestic workers marched along the streets in Hong Kong and gathered for a big rally in front of the Philippine Embassy in the Central district on 28 January to protest the Philippine government’s new overseas employment regulations. They are referring to the new rules...

  • 9 Chinese oil workers abducted in south Nigeria

    January 2007 - China PR

    Nine Chinese oil workers of a petrochemical company in south Nigeria were abducted by unidentified armed men on 25 January. The missing workers were employed by the China National Petrochemical Corp, (CNPC), which was doing some work in the Sagbama area in Nigerian oil state of Bayelsa. According...

  • Pope calls for proper integration of immigrants

    January 2007 - World

    Pope Benedict XVI, in his regular Sunday address on 14 January, said that the more than 200 million immigrants worldwide should be regarded as a resource and not as a problem. He said that the proper integration of migrants into the social, economic and political systems would only be possible if...

  • Ex-immigration officer in bribery charges

    January 2007 - Sri Lanka

    Former immigration officer, Siti Sarina Mohamed Kassim, 28, has been charged with 24 counts of agreeing to accept bribes in exchange for visitors’ visas endorsed mostly to Filipino women. Kassim, an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority officer based at Woodlands, had allegedly accepted a total...

  • 815,000 new ‘high-end’ jobs for OFWs

    January 2007 - Philippines

    Labor Secretary Arturo Brion disclosed that some 815,000 new “high-end" job opportunities in the telecommunications, medical and construction industries would be open to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) over the next three years. Saudi Arabia, which is planning to build four economic cities,...

  • Employers urged to check employment agency’s background

    January 2007 - Malaysia

    Immigration enforcement director Datuk Ishak Mohamed urged employers to take the time to check the background of foreign manpower agents with the department before getting their services in hiring workers. He cited the case of a Singaporean businessman who unknowingly engaged the services of an...

  • Employers free to negotiate monthly salaries of domestic workers

    January 2007 - Brunei Darussalam

    According to Commissioner of Labor Omar Abdul Rahman, prospective Bruneian employers can negotiate the monthly salaries of their foreign domestic workers before a contract is signed as long as the rate is mutually agreed upon by both parties and no local laws are violated. He made the statement...

  • 2 companies to start deploying laborers to the US

    January 2007 - Vietnam

    Two companies, AIC and Viracimex Labor Export Center, have been granted permission to deploy Vietnamese workers to the United States on a trial basis. According to Nguyen Thi Thanh Nhan, AIC director, his company has received several US job offers for welders and farm workers. Vietnamese workers...

  • Work permits of over 600,000 migrant workers to be renewed

    January 2007 - Thailand

    According to the Labor Ministry, it will extend the work permits of more than 600,000 migrant workers from Burma, Laos and Cambodia. These work permits would be valid for one year. Manoon Punyakariyakorn, director-general of the Department of Employment, also said that the ministry would begin...

  • ASEAN ministers sign declaration to protect migrant workers in region

    January 2007 - Philippines

    Heads of state of ASEAN member countries signed the Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers during the two-day Leaders’ Summit in Cebu, Philippines on 13-14 January. Under the accord, governments vow to ensure that migrant workers within the region are...

  • 15 Bangladeshis nabbed by Burmese border security forces

    January 2007 - Burma

    Nasaka, the Burmese border security force, furnished Bangladesh authorities the names and addresses of its nationals who were among those arrested in Burma on 20 December. Nasaka forces arrested 56 Muslims, including 41 Burmese nationals from Maungdaw Township and 15 Bangladeshis from Teknaf and...

  • Sri Lanka to promote institution-based foreign employment

    January 2007 - Sri Lanka

    Labor and Foreign Employment Minister Athauda Seneviratna revealed that the government has started a massive campaign to promote institution-based foreign employment and to encourage migrant workers to seek high-paying jobs, preferably those requiring professional skills, in the Middle East and...

  • 57% of Afghan refugees do not want to be repatriated: UNHCR report

    January 2007 - Pakistan

    According to a UNHCR report some 57 percent of the 2.5 million Afghan nationals still remaining in Pakistan no longer want to return to their homeland. Many of them have become well-established in Pakistan and do not want to risk returning to Afghanistan with its unstable peace and order...

  • Stiffer penalties sought against human traffickers

    January 2007 - Nepal

    The government has proposed a new bill calling for stiffer penalties against those involved in human trafficking activities. The new bill seeks a maximum prison term of 20 years and a fine of up to 100,000 rupees ($1,500) for those found guilty of trafficking women. Those who engage in...

  • India to devise strategies to raise wages of overseas workers

    January 2007 - India

    Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh revealed that India is considering the creation of a professional body that would devise ways to ensure that overseas Indian workers “move up the wage chain." The Prime Minister stressed the need for a strategic planning to allow India’s skilled migrant...

  • 130,000 newcomers arrived in Australia last year

    January 2007 - Australia

    Latest immigration figures show that Australia accepted close to 100,000 skilled migrants, 13,000 refugees and 17,000 others for family reunification in the year to June 2006. The figures indicate an increasing number of skilled migrants coming from Asia, particularly from India and China, but...

  • Temporary entrants, permanent residency approvals in 2005-2006

    January 2007 - New Zealand

    According to figures released recently by the Department of Labor, Australians comprise the largest group of temporary entrants to New Zealand while UK nationals make up the largest group granted permanent residency approvals in 2005-2006. Those given permanent residency increased from 30,000 in...

  • New labor law has tougher punitive measures

    January 2007 - United Arab Emirates

    The Ministry of Labor will soon release a draft of the new labor law, including various amendments calling for more stringent penal measures against violators. Under the proposed amendments, fines for labor law violators will be raised from Dh10,000 to Dh 12,000 and jail terms, from three to six...

  • 129 companies banned from recruiting foreign workers

    January 2007 - Saudi Arabia

    The labor ministry banned some 129 companies on 5 January from foreign recruitment for the next two years for failing to meet the prescribed Saudization targets and for not registering their Saudi workers with the General Organization of Social Insurance (GOSI) despite having more than 100...

  • Imam calls for kind and fair treatment of workers

    January 2007 - Qatar

    In a sermon delivered before the Eid prayers in Aisha bint Abu Baker Mosque on 30 December, Qatari imam, Dr. Ali Mohiuddin Al Qurradaghi, urged sponsors to be kind and fair to their employees, especially to domestic workers and drivers who work in their homes. According to the imam “mistreating...

  • Custody of runaway workers at RP embassy to be transferred to Lebanese authorities

    January 2007 - Lebanon

    Starting this month, the Philippine Embassy in Lebanon will transfer custody of Filipino runaway workers to the Lebanese government, particularly those who escaped from their employers due to maltreatment, molestation, nonpayment of wages, and poor working conditions. This transfer is part of...

  • Filipina domestic worker facing murder and frustrated murder charges

    January 2007 - Kuwait

    The Philippine Embassy has sought the services of a five-man defense team to represent 28-year old Filipina domestic worker, May Vecina, who is charged with killing her employer’s six-year old son and stabbing his two older children. The top five Kuwaiti lawyers hired by the embassy have been...

  • Iraqi refugee movement the largest in the world: UNHCR

    January 2007 - Iraq

    According to the UNHCR, the refugee exodus from Iraq reached up to 100,000 a month at some points during the past year. At this scale, it is believed to be the biggest movement of people across borders in the world at this time. The continued influx of Iraqi refugees to neighboring Jordan and...

  • Israel to accept 3,000 more foreign agricultural workers

    January 2007 - Israel

    The cabinet recently agreed to allow the entry of 3,000 more foreign agricultural workers to work in Israel, bringing to 29,000 the total number of such workers in the country. However, farmers who wish to employ foreign workers increase their local work force in order to qualify for a permit....

  • Bahraini women fight for their children’s right to citizenship

    January 2007 - Bahrain

    Bahraini women married to foreigners and their stateless children have appealed to Parliament to amend the country’s citizenship laws that discriminate against them. The Bahrain Women’s Society organized a Regional Naturalization Conference at the Elite Suites in Sanabis on 10-11 January...

  • New immigration agency inaugurated

    January 2007 - Taiwan

    The upgraded National Immigration Agency (NIA), formerly the Immigration Office, was inaugurated in Taipei City on 2 January. The new agency, which now falls under the direct supervision of the Ministry of the Interior rather than the National Police Agency, was established in response to the...

  • Foreign permanent residents in Japan rising

    January 2007 - Japan

    The number of foreign residents in Japan surged to a record high 2.01 million in 2005, up from 1.36 million registered ten years earlier. Chinese nationals make up the largest growing ethnic group in the country, totaling 519,000 or 25 percent of all registered aliens. Although Koreans still...

  • Couples in marriage-for-residency scam jailed

    January 2007 - Hong Kong SAR

    A district magistrate’s court in Shatin, New Territories sentenced four mainland Chinese to various prison terms, ranging from 12 to 18 months, for conspiracy to defraud the Hong Kong SAR government and for providing false information to immigration officers. The four, including two men and two...

  • Entry rules for Filipina entertainers to Korea tightened

    January 2007 - Republic of Korea

    The Ministry of Immigration has issued new regulations to restrict the entry of Filipina entertainers to Korea. Under the new rules, only Filipino overseas performing artists (OPAs) who were recruited, screened and approved by Korean promoters could be accredited by immigration officials for...

  • New measures to encourage return of overseas talents

    January 2007 - China PR

    The Ministry of Personnel plans to implement more measures to attract overseas Chinese talents, particularly leading experts in academic research, senior managerial personnel and talented individuals with special expertise for economic and social development, to return to China. Part of the plan...