Transnational Burmese worker’s Bank Account, the revolution of remittance system after the 2008 Financial Crisis: A case study of Burmese workers in Extended Bangkok Metropolitan Region.
Original Text: Transnational Burmese
worker’s Bank Account, the revolution of remittance system after the 2008 Financial Crisis: A case study of Burmese workers in Extended Bangkok Metropolitan Region.
During Asian Financial Crisis in the late 1990‘s, Burmese workers became to subsidise the unemployment rate in Thailand.. They accepted the low paid, dirty and difficult job. The condition of Burmese internal politics caused the vast amount of illegal migrant to Thailand in last ten years via agency who charged them a lot of money. The illegal status never secured them from unfair wage and the bribe for Thai officers. Somehow, any would better than stay in the collapsed market society and political turmoil like their hometown.
The dual track of economic policy by Thaksin’s populism regime (2001-2006) had guided the better condition for migrant workers. By established the full employment policy and state led social security fund altogether with the liberal financial policy, economic boom caused Burmese workers were more accepted into Thai society. Burmese workers have dominated in several sectors such as fishery, construction, domestic house work. Although there are several cheats and over exploits from Thai entrepreneur , the overall economic condition is improved, the Burmese social-network also facilitate them in labour market. Somehow, they have limited channel on economic remittance most of them cannot open the Bank account. They usually carried the large cash with themselves which sometimes is risk to be charged by Thai officers. One of the most popular ways to send the money back is to buy the “Gold” and give it to the agencies who will transfer to their family with ten percent charged of the value.
The Military coup in 2006 led to the period of Nationalism and the sense of anti-migration which were accounted as the scapegoat for Thai worker’s unemployment during financial Crisis in 2008. The strict immigrant policy caused hundred thousands of unregistered labour in 2009. Somehow the policy cause relative less practical effect, the Burmese were less related to Thai labour market. The policy also harmed the business which based on Burmese labour power and the increasing of illegal human trafficking issues. The mid of 2009 the policy adopted to the Nationality Proved policy which facilitate to the illegal immigrant to receive temporal Visa status (popularly known as Pink-Card)
By the result of competitive on financial sector at the end of 2009, Thai bank system started to facilitate Burmese workers (with Pink-Card) to open their own bank account which they can be received their wage via this channel instead of using the account of Thai agencies as the former time. The ATM card in their own name also facilitate them on money transfer to the border area which their family can withdraw the money and transfer from Thai Baht to Burmese Kyat. The Burmese labour intensive city such as Samuthsakorn also provide Burmese language menu in the cash machine for the first time.
This paper aim to focus the scenario after financial crisis with the brief case study consist of the arguments
1. The remittance is the main expenditure of Burmese workers ,improve the channel of the remittance also provide them more independence both in work place and private life.
2. Having their own Bank account facilitate them the effective remittances to their families by reduce the cost for agencies.
The methodology attempt to prove both arguments by analyse systematic data from the Burmese workers focus group in EBMR who stay in Thailand during economic crisis and also the introduction period of Burmese bank account.
The Transnational Burmese Worker’s Bank Account: The Revolution Of The Remittance System After The 2008 Financial Crisis: A case study of Burmese Workers In The Extended Bangkok Metropolitan Region
During the Asian Financial Crisis in the late 1990‘s, Burmese workers subsidized the unemployment rate in Thailand. They accepted the low paid, dirty and difficult jobs. The condition of Burmese internal politics caused a vast amount of illegal immigration to Thailand in the last ten years via agencies which charged a lot of money. Their illegal status exposed them to unfair wages and bribes for Thai officers but they were still better off than staying in the collapsed market society and political turmoil of their home country.
The dual tracks of the economic policy of Thaksin’s populist regime (2001-2006) had created better conditions for migrant workers. By established the full employment policy and a state led social security fund together with the liberal financial policy, an economic boom caused Burmese workers to be more accepted into Thai society. Burmese workers have dominated in several sectors such as fisheries, construction and domestic house work. Although there have been several abuses and exploitation by Thai entrepreneurs, the overall economic condition is improved. The Burmese social network has also facilitated them in the labour market.
Because most of them cannot open a bank account, they have limited channels for economic remittance. They have usually carried a large amount of cash with them, which sometimes placed them at risk of being detained by Thai officials.
One of the most popular ways to send money back to Burma is to buy “Gold” and give it to agencies which will transfer it to the workers families for a charge of ten percent of the value.
The Military coup in 2006 led to a period of Nationalism and a feeling of anti-immigration, which was accounted as the scapegoat for Thai worker’s unemployment during financial Crisis in 2008. The strict immigration policy caused hundreds of thousands unregistered laborers in 2009. Somehow the policy caused relatively less practical effect, the Burmese were less related to the Thai labor market. The policy also harmed the businesses which were based on Burmese labor and increased illegal human trafficking. The mid-2009 Nationality Proved policy facilitated the illegal immigrants receiving a temporary Visa status (popularly known as the Pink-Card.)
As a result of competition in the financial sector at the end of 2009, the Thai banking system started to allow Burmese workers (with the Pink-Card) to open their own bank accounts, by which they could received their wages, instead of using the accounts of Thai agencies as previously. The ATM cards in their own names also facilitated their money transfers to the border area, where their families could withdraw the money and exchange the Thai Baht for Burmese Kyat.
Cities, such as Samuthsakorn, with large amounts of Burmese labour also provided Burmese language menus on the cash machines for the first time.
This paper aims to focus on the scenario after the financial crisis with a brief case study and arguments.
1. The remittance is the main expenditure of Burmese workers. Improving the channel of the remittance also provides them more independence, both in the work place and in private life.
2. Having their own bank accounts facilitates the effective remittances to their families by reducing the cost for agencies.
The methodology attempts to prove both arguments by analyzing systematic data from the Burmese workers focus group in EBMR who staed in Thailand during the economic crisis and also the introduction period of the Burmese bank accounts.
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