Migrant workers

Australian Ambassador to ASEAN meets migrant workers and support providers in Thailand

A visit to the Migrant Resource Centre, supported by the TRIANGLE in ASEAN programme, provided an opportunity to speak with migrant workers and the organizations providing support.

News | Bangkok, Thailand | 18 April 2023
BANGKOK, Thailand (ILO News) - H.E. Will Nankervis, Australian Ambassador to ASEAN, visited a Migrant Worker Resource Centre (MRC), operated by HomeNet in the Bang Bon area of Bangkok, to see first-hand the range of support services available to migrant workers and their communities.

Ambassador Nankervis, his delegation, and the HomeNet Thailand/ILO MRC Team. © Jiraporn Wongpaithoon

Ambassador Nankervis met with the HomeNet Thailand team who shared their experiences in providing assistance to migrant workers, and their advocacy work to promote the rights of informal workers, including homebased garment workers and migrant domestic workers.

Ambassador Nankervis also met with a group of migrant workers employed in local garment factories. The migrant workers shared experiences of having previously worked under exploitative conditions. Since coming into contact with HomeNet Thailand, the migrant workers shared their migration journey including finding decent employment at the Dignity Return garment factory. Ambassador Nankervis in turn expressed Australia’s strong commitment to support the protection and promotion of migrant workers’ rights in ASEAN through TRIANGLE in ASEAN.

A key takeaway from the visit was how invaluable it is to ensure that migrant workers have access to support services at all stages of the migration cycle. “It was great to be able to hear directly from some of the migrant workers and to hear their first-hand stories about how they are benefiting from the services provided by the Migrant Resource Centres”, Ambassador Nankervis said.

Ms Poonsap Tulaphan from HomeNet Thailand shares experiences from organizing migrant domestic workers and other homebased workers with Ambassador Nankervis. © Jiraporn Wongpaithoon
TRIANGLE in ASEAN is a partnership between the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and the ILO, with the overall goal of maximizing the contribution of labour migration to equitable, inclusive and stable growth in ASEAN.
TRIANGLE in ASEAN provides direct services to migrant workers and their communities through a network of 22 Migrant Worker Resource Centres (MRCs) in 20 locations across six ASEAN member states. MRC services are delivered through partnerships with government institutions, trade unions and civil society organizations, and provide a range of services, including counselling, training and legal assistance.

Despite the significant contributions that migrant workers make to their countries of origin and destination, many migrant workers, especially women, face labour related abuse and exploitation, and receive lack of social protection and sub-standard housing. In Thailand, approximately 2.5 million documented workers from Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar work in agriculture, construction, fishing, manufacturing, and services including domestic work, according to the Department of Employment in 2023.