By Masami Ishida (eds.)
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Extra resources for Border Economies in the Greater Mekong Subregion
The registration system became more inclusive and comprehensive in 2004, offering registration opportunities for migrants from Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia in all industries and provinces. However, policies and directives on migrant worker registration changed almost every year, as further explained below. Migrant worker registration guaranteed legal employment in Thailand, but the stay in Thailand was not fully legalized. The Immigration Act of 1979 recognizes the legal stay of foreigners only with the possession of valid travel documents and stay permits.
Mengla is the center of the Fourth Special District, which is an autonomous region captured by the Eastern Shan State Army (ESSA) as a result of a ceasefire agreement with the Myanmar government. The economies of the Eastern Shan State depended upon the cultivation and sales of opium. As a condition of the ceasefire agreement, the ESSA had to quit the opium business and develop the region. Then, a casino business targeting Chinese tourists became one of the easiest ways to earn development capital.
Nonetheless, of the total worker permit holders in 2009, the number of work permit renewals was only 379,200, the lowest renewal number for any year since 2004. 2 Legalization of migrant worker statuses All migrants who have obtained the permits were eligible to enter into the legalization process. This process was limited to holders of valid work permits, so as not to create a new influx of migrants crossing the border to take advantage of the legalization opportunity. The legalization of migrant workers involved going through a number of steps with the Thai government and also with the governments of the countries of origin of these migrant workers.