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PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND

About the Author
As a B.A. majoring in International Relations from Thammasat University in Thailand with experience in Thailand’s Foreign Ministry, Ropharat Aphijanyatham focused her research on border issues between Myanmar and Thailand, especially the increasing movement of low-skill labor from Shan State in Myanmar into Thailand to seek jobs. She also analyzed the proposed means by which to secure their safe, legal employment across the borders with decent wages and access to some social protections, including health care and their children’s education. She has completed her Master’s Degree from Keio University, Japan and has returned to Bangkok recently in order to prepare her PhD.

Cover, Maps and Layout: Mikael Brodu Photographs (including cover): Ropharat Aphijanyatham ISBN 978-616-90282-1-5 © IRASEC, October 2009 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted, in any form or means, without prior permission of the author or the publisher. The opinions expressed in these papers are solely those of the author(s).

A collection under the supervision of Anne-Lise Sauterey and Benoît de Tréglodé

Perceptions of Borders and Human Migration:
The Human (In)Security of Shan Migrant Workers in Thailand

By Ropharat Aphijanyatham

Carnet de l’Irasec / Occasional Paper Série Observatoire / Observatory Series n°01

L’observatoire se concentre depuis 2008 sur l’analyse des activités et des mouvements transfrontaliers illicites en Asie du Sud-est continentale par le biais de programmes de recherche et d’analyses académiques ou stratégiques. Il est accueilli au sein de l’IRASEC à Bangkok. L’Institut de recherche sur l’Asie du Sud-Est contemporaine (USR 3142 – UMIFRE 22 CNRS MAEE) s’intéresse depuis 2001 aux évolutions politiques, sociales et environnementales en cours dans les onze pays de la région. Basé à Bangkok, l’Institut fait appel à des chercheurs de tous horizons disciplinaires et académiques qu’il associe au gré des problématiques. Il privilégie autant que possible les démarches transversales. The Observatory is in charge since 2008 of the analysis of illicit cross-border movements within mainland Southeast Asia. It supports research programmes and publishes both academic and strategic works. It is based within the Research Institute on Contemporary Southeast Asia in Bangkok. The Research Institute on Contemporary Southeast Asia,, based in Bangkok, Thailand, calls on specialists from all academic fields to study the important social, political, economic and environmental developments that affect, together or separately, the eleven countries of the region (Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, TimorLeste and Viet Nam).

LE COMITÉ ÉDITORIAL DE L’IRASEC
• Jean BAFFIE, CNRS, IRSEA • Bénédicte BRAC de la PERRIERE, CASE, CNRS, EHESS • Sophie BOISSEAU du ROCHER, Asia Centre • Jean-Raphaël CHAPONNIERE, AFD • Christian CULAS, IRASEC CNRS • Gilles DELOUCHE, INALCO • Jean-Luc DOMENACH, CERI, Réseau Asie • Evelyne DOURILLE-FEER, CEPII • Stéphane DOVERT, MAE • Frédéric DURAND, Université de Toulouse • Alain FOREST, Paris VII • Guy FAURE, IAO • Michel FOURNIE, INALCO • Charles GOLDBLUM, Institut français d’urbanisme • Christopher GOSCHA, Université de Montréal • Yves GOUDINEAU, EFEO • Andrew HARDY, EFEO, Hanoi • Jacques IVANOFF, IRASEC CNRS • François LAGIRARDE, EFEO Bangkok • Christian LECHERVY, MAE • Arnaud LEVEAU, IRASEC • LE Huu Khoa, Université de Lille • Charles MAC DONALD, CNRS • Rémi MADINIER, IRASEC CNRS • Philippe PAPIN, EPHE • François RAILLON, CASE, CNRS, EHESS • Jean-François SABOURET, CNRS, Réseau Asie • Christian TAILLARD, CASE, CNRS LASEMA • Hugues TERTRAIS, Université de Paris I • Benoît de TRÉGLODÉ, IRASEC • Marie-Sybille de VIENNE, INALCO

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Table of Contents
Introduction .................................................................................................7
1 - Understanding Borders Perceptions and Human Security in Human Migration ..............................................7 2 - Research Framework ..................................................................................8 3 - Organization of the Paper ..........................................................................9 Chapter 1

A history of borders and its influence on Shan migrant workers’ migration behaviour .....................................11
1 - An Introduction to the Shan, the History of Borders and Migration Today ................................................................................11 2 - The Contemporary Migration Situation in Northern Thailand ..........14 2.1 - Push Factors: Political and socio-economic insecurities in Burma drive more people to move to Thailand ..................................14 2.2 - Pull Factors: The Availability of low-paid jobs, work for women and demographic factors in Thailand attract more people from Burma to become migrant workers ........................................................19 3 - An Increasing Influx of Foreign Workers in Thailand and their Macroeconomic Contribution to the Thai GDP ....................20 4 - The Migration Legal Framework in Thailand .......................................26 Chapter 2

A comparative analysis of the different perceptions of borders and of the cost-benefit assessment between the Thai government, Shan migrant workers, Thai employers and informal brokers ........................................31
1 - Human Security and Migration ..............................................................31 1.1 - Human Insecurities in Burma as Factors in Migration .....................31 1.2 - More Human Securities or Less Human Insecurities? the Post-Migration Situation in Thailand ..............................................33

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PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

2 - Three Actors’ Perceptions of Borders, their Cost-Benefit Assessment, and the Migration of Shan Migrant Workers ................. 42 2.1 - The Thai Government’s Perception of Borders: Legal Borders vs. Social Borders ............................................................ 42 2.2 - Shan Migrant Workers’ Perception of Borders: Borderless or Ethnic Borders - An Interpretation of Socio-Economic Demand .......... 47 2.3 - Thai Employers’ and Informal Brokers’ Perception of Borders: Economic Advantages from the Multi-Perceptions of Borders............... 61 2.4 - The “Acquiescent Reciprocity”: A Factor in the Migration Phenomenon ................................................ 65 3 - Differences in the Perceptions of Borders and the Perpetuation of Illegal Migration ............................................. 66

Summary and conclusion .................................................................. 67
1 - From the Solid Meaning of Borders by the Nation-State to the Different Perceptions of Borders by the Locals ......................... 67 2 - Recommendations .................................................................................... 72 2.1 - Inclusion of the Different Perceptions of Borders in Policy Formulation ............................................................................ 72 2.2 - The Need to Accelerate the Legal Process and to Create Coherence in Immigration and Registration Policies .............................................. 73

Glossary ....................................................................................................... 75 Bibliography .............................................................................................. 77

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Introduction
1 - Understanding Borders Perceptions and Human Security in Human Migration
While there are many prior studies to date on the internal conflicts in Burma, these are mostly focused on the human rights situation within the country. In addition, many previous marked studies, such as works from Thai academics, International Organizations or the World Health Organization1, have highlighted the human securities of migrant workers in the destination country whereby the process of migration has already taken place. However, none of them have focused on the phenomenon of migration in relation to perceptions of borders and human
1) Punpuing et al., Migrant Domestic Workers: from Burma to Thailand (Nakhon Pathom, Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University, 2004) สถาบันวิจยประชากรและสังคม มหาวิทยาลัยมหิดล, คนรับใช้ ในบ้ าน: แรงงานอพยพจากพม่ ามาไทย, 2004 ั 2) Archavanitkul, Migrant Workers and Research Direction [In Thai] (Nakhon Pathom, Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University, 2002) กฤตยา อาชวนิชกุล, สถานะความร้ ูเรืองแรงงานข้ ามชาติในประเทศไทยและทิศทางการวิจัยทีพึงพิจารณา, สถาบันวิจยประชากรและสังคม ั มหาวิทยาลัยมหิดล, นครปฐม, 2002 3) Chantavanich, Needs Assessment of Host Communities in Burmese Border Refugee Camp Area: Tasongyang and Pobpra District, Tak Province (Bangkok, Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University, 2003) ่ ศูนย์วจยการย้ายถิ่นแหงเอเชี ย, การประเมินความต้ องการของชมชนบริเวณพืนทีรองรับผ้ หนีภัยชายแดนไทย-พม่ า: อําเภอท่าสองยาง และอําเภอพบพระ ิั ้ ุ ู จังหวัดตาก, จุฬาลงกรณ์มหาวิทยาลัย, 2003 4) International Labour Organization (ILO), The Mekong Challenge: Underpaid, Overworked and Overlooked: The Realities of Young Migrant Workers in Thailand, 2006 5) World Health Organization (WHO), Adolescent Migrants in the Greater Mekong Sub-region: Are they equipped to protect themselves against sexual and reproductive health risks, WHO, 2007
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PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

security. The lack of study addressing the influence of borders and human securities as the key indicators to people’s migration behaviour supports the significance and relevance of this research.

2 - Research Framework
This research aims to understand the differences in the perceptions of borders between the Thai government, Shan migrant workers, Thai employers, and informal brokers, which perpetuate the flow of illegal migration. Due to the increasing number of illegal Shan migrant workers who are living, producing and consuming products and services in Thailand, or in other words, being absorbed into and continuing to contribute to the Thai economy, it is necessary to map out a framework of borders, human migration and human security for policy-makers to approach and use in addressing the migration issue as a basis for future theoretical development. A focus on the different perceptions of borders in the migration phenomenon may lead toward a more comprehensive view of the international migration process, particularly for ASEAN to have more realistic border and migration policies. Based on the purpose of the research mentioned above, my hypothesis is as follows: “The flow of illegal migrant workers is continuing and increasing due to the differences in the perceptions and functions of borders between the Thai government, Shan migrant workers, Thai employers and informal brokers”. The actual primary data is derived from fieldwork conducted both in Thailand and Burma. In addition, secondary data collected from available literature was processed and reviewed in order to support the borders approach in addressing human security and migration. Finally, a comparative case study of Cambodian migrant workers is examined based on fieldwork made in the Rayong province of Thailand.

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THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND
CHINA

Mandalay

Kengtung
SHAN STATE

BURMA
Taunggyi
Tachilek Mae Sai

LAO PDR

Chiang Rai

THAILAND
Chiang Mai

3 - Organization of the Paper
In Chapter One, we would first like to discuss how and in which historical context the borders between Burma and Thailand were drawn, and how they consequently influenced the imagination of borders in the minds of Shan migrant workers. Furthermore, it is important to discuss in this Chapter how the perceptions of borders and human security affect not only Shan migrant workers’ behaviour in migrating to Thailand, but also the migration legal framework in the country. The core analysis of this study is in Chapter Two, which consists of the analysis of the different perceptions of borders and the cost-benefit assessment between the Thai government, Shan migrant workers, Thai employers and informal brokers. This part intensely discusses the
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PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

different perceptions of borders among each of the above-mentioned actors, and how these have affected governmental immigration policies, Shan migrant workers’ migration behaviour and Thai employers’ patterns of employment. This Chapter discusses and analyses three main topics. Firstly, by attempting to determine the push-pull factors that influence Shan people to migrate, it examines what types of insecurities migrant workers expect to resolve through migration. Secondly, we will continue to deliberate on defining the respective perceptions of borders of each actor involved in the migration phenomenon of Shan workers. Finally, it discusses what the costs and benefits are for 1) the Thai government and Thai employers when it comes to the border crossing of Shan migrant workers and 2) the Shan migrant workers in measuring their well-being and weighing the advantages between living in Thailand and Burma. Finally, conclusions are made based on the results of the analysis, and recommendations as to the governmental policies regarding migration are also proposed. The section concerning recommendations tries to point out the importance of including different perceptions of borders in policy formulation and the need to accelerate the legal process and create coherence in immigration and registration policies.

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Chapter 1

A history of borders and its influence on Shan migrant workers’ migration behaviour
1 - An Introduction to the Shan, the History of Borders and Migration Today
The Shan, or Tai-Yai (members of the Greater Tai ethnic family)2, are a Tai-speaking group who call themselves Tai but whom the Burmese call Shan - which also refers to all Thai people in the Ayudia Shan Kingdom (Ayutthaya Siam) or what is now Thailand. The word Siam is a variation of the word Shan or Sham in Burmese. The Shan are the second biggest ethnic group3 in Burma, forming 7 percent of the total population in the 1930s4, and about 4 million or
2 The term “Shan” will be used throughout this research to refer to people who are currently living in the Shan State of Burma or who migrated from the Shan State to Thailand. (Please refer to the map “Migration Flow from the Shan State to northern Thailand”) 3 According to the 1983 census, there were 135 distinct ethnic groups in Burma. The Burmans (Bamars), the largest group, are estimated to constitute two thirds of the population (about 33 million out of 50 million, or 66 percent). However, these numbers probably include people of Mon, Karen (Kayin) and other ancestry who have assimilated themselves to the mainstream Burman language, customs, culture, and most importantly, to Burmese Buddhism. Seekins, Historical Dictionary of Burma (Burma) (Lanham MD, Scarecrow Press, 2006), p.7

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PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

8 percent of Burma’s population of approximately 50 million people5 in 1999. In the past, the Shan State was divided into more than 30 individual states, with each having its own saophas or sawbwa (Shan princes) as the governing leader. The Shan states survived under British colonial rule; that is to say, the authority of saophas was recognized by the British colonial administration. The status of the Shan princes was somewhat similar to that of the rulers of the Indian princely states. It is believed that the native land of the Tai-Yai is located between south-western Yunnan (province of China) and north-eastern Burma, with the Salween river to the east and the valley of India’s Assam State to the west, near the 8th century trade routes that linked China, India and the rest of Southeast Asia. This geographic proximity illustrates the socio-economic relation between people living in these areas and their movement since then. The greater Tai race progressively dispersed itself over time throughout the valley of Assam in eastern India, farther into inland China, northern Thailand, northern Laos, and some parts of northern Vietnam, with a majority settling in north-eastern Burma, now known as the Shan State. As the populations of the Tai race settled throughout the above-mentioned region where other polities had also established a home base, they were thus within close reach of various communities. Interactions thus developed between them as geographic proximity and cultural assimilation supplement each other. As a result, this type of geographic assimilation shapes the kingdoms’ leaders’ and people’s perspective of borders. To the leaders, there is an overlapping sovereignty over the overlapping kingdom boundaries. To the people, like their leaders, geographic proximity and cultural similarity absorb people into the same socio-economic system.

4 According to the 1931 census, Silverstein, Burmese politics: the dilemma of national unity (New Brunswick, NJ, Rutgers University Press, 1980) 5 Keat Gin Ooi, Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopedia, from Angkor Wat to East Timor (Santa Barbara CA, ABC-CLIO, 2004), p.1191

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THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND

If we explore both State and non-State actors’ perceptions of borders in the 19th century, before the transformation of each kingdom into the modern conception of a nation, we can see that the inter-state relations and multiple sovereignties between overlords and tributary states created a concept of borders as a blended region where people from both kingdoms co-existed, rather than an imaginary line on the map.6 This kind of border perception leads to two consequences. First, people in both kingdoms perceived border-crossing as a general movement. Second, the assimilation of ethnic identities among these various cultural areas, resulting from political and/ or socio-economic exchange, takes place both intentionally and voluntarily. These perceptions and activities have remained in the local people’s perspective of borders to this day. For instance, the Kachin have assimilated themselves to the Shan by adopting the sawbwa7 political system from them in the 19th century. Thus, political, socio-economic and cultural exchanges were, and are still to this day, commonplace. In the same way, Shan people who nowadays migrate to Thailand view their border-crossing as a day-to-day general movement, and not as an act of international migration, just as their ancestors did. They have also intentionally adjusted and transformed their own identity to Thai cultural norms in the hope of changing their economic and political status in Thailand. At the same time, they are trying to resurrect the idea of their shared Tai or Thai ethnic heritage in order to ensure the legitimacy of their entering Thailand.8 On the other hand, the modern concept of borders has transformed the above-mentioned perception into a clear-cut line in the mind of the

Winichakul, Siam Mapped: A History of the Geo-Body of a Nation (Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 1997) 7 Sawbwa (Burmese term) or Saopha (Shan term) is the political system by which a hereditary prince rules the state. Iijima, ‘An Oral History Approach to a Sawbwa Family's Strategy: Research Notes for a Short History of Hsenwi’ in Ecological Resource Use and Social Change in the Minority Regions of Burma (Kyoto, Centre for Southeast Asian Studies of Kyoto University, 2007) Vol.45, No.3, p.450 8 Based on this fact, identity is a kind of “perception” that can be recreated, transformed and extended to serve both political and socio-economic purposes. With regard to this method of thought, each head town did not develop at the same time as others, but over a long period of time these were gradually combined. “Shanness” is, as a result, a man-made history pulling each individual under the same umbrella of ancestral legend.
6

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PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

state, a phenomenon that Benedict Anderson calls an artificial boundary9. Meanwhile, the Shan immigrants’ perception and definition of borders and movement still remain the same as in the 19th century. The States have institutionalized the modern concept of borders and have established this as the law in order to identify the others, who move from another nation-state in the hope of improving their human securities, as immigrants, and the action of movement as migration. This approach is meant to benefit the nation in two ways. The first is to identify the ownership of natural resources, and the second is to create a sense of superiority, unity and loyalty among us or citizen, the new status given to those who belong to the nation-state. The result is that the Thai government views Shan migrant workers in Thailand as a threat to the security of the receiving population.

2 - The Contemporary Migration Situation in Northern Thailand
2.1 - Push Factors: Political and socio-economic insecurities in Burma drive more people to move to Thailand
2.1.1 - Ethnic Conflict: Ethnic Cleansing War, Depleted Forest, Environmental Degradation and Forced Relocation The remains of the Kuomintang (KMT) invasion during the 1950s and the ongoing fighting since Burma’s independence between the Mong Tai (also known as the Shan Army or MTA) and the Burmese military within the Shan State have placed a great hardship on local civilians. This political instability causes a feeling of life instability or social insecurity (crime or internal disorder) among the Shan population. Due to this ceaseless war and irregular farming, the agricultural environment has been degraded, while forests are being depleted because of the increase in large-scale teak logging, thus displacing people and their activities.
9

Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (New York, Verso, 1983)

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THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND

Push Factor on the Burmese Side
CHINA

BURMA

LAO PDR

Displaced villages in Eastern Burma (1996-2007)

Hiding Areas

THAILAND
Ceasefire Areas

Refugee Camp

Source: based on maps retrieved on January the 9th 2009 from www.tbbc.org

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PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

Furthermore, military forces suddenly increased three-fold in 1988. The Burmese government sent one fourth of its armed forces to station within the Shan State. As a result, the biggest forced relocation took place during 1996-1997 from rural areas to the central part of the Shan State. More than 300,000 people from 1,400 villages were forced to leave for the newly assigned areas.10 This time, relocation not only led to the second and third biggest migration waves into northern Thailand (the first wave took place in 1962), but also to the increase in numbers and severity of rape, crime, forced labour, tax demands and other violent activities in the centre of the Shan State. Hence, the pattern of migration has evolved into becoming more or less a phenomenon of long-term settlement ever since the relocation policy was enforced, whereas during the colonial period, people went from the Shan State to neighbouring areas mainly for trading purposes, and thus movements took place on a short-term basis. 2.1.2 - Socio-Economic Hardships: Unpaid Labour, Lost Land and Lack of Food The Burmese military government exploits the traditional economic system and its forms of labour exchange by manipulating them into becoming forms of unpaid labour. Badly affected by this malpractice on the military’s part, the Shan, questioning the efficiency of their own labour exchange system, have shifted from their traditional ideas to a new concept whereby labour is something that may be sold and bought in the market. This new form of idea motivates people to migrate from peasant economic areas to the commercial production sector. Additionally, land has become a market commodity and a capital for commercial production. When peasants need to forfeit land to creditors, their production capability is reduced to a rice production that is merely sufficient for household consumption, and considerably insufficient to sell for capital gain. Finally, many people are forced to sell their labour for daily wages in the commercial sector. Most peasants do not have the

10

Please refer to the map on the previous page.

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THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND

Unpaid Labour
Hydropower Project Mining Gas Pipeline Proposed Asia Highway Logging Agricultural Project
Naypyidaw

CHINA

SHAN STATE

BURMA LAO PDR

Rangoon

THAILAND

Andaman Sea

Bangkok

Source: based on maps retrieved on January the 9th 2009 from www.tbbc.org

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PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

required skills or education for urban work. As a result, they become comparatively worse off, particularly in the case of Shan migrant peasants who migrate to work in modern commercial sectors in Thailand. Many become unemployed or under-employed. But with the changes in the whole fabric of social and economic life in Shan villages in Burma, they are forced to move with the expectation of getting daily wage work, in spite of wages below the national standard or their disadvantages in social and work welfare. 2.1.3 - The Lack of Socio-Cultural Freedom The suppression of ethnic language is a good example to demonstrate the process of Burmanization undertaken by the Burmese military government. There is an interesting dimension to the altered names, not only the country’s name (from Burma to Myanmar in 1989), but also the capital (from Rangoon to Yangon), and minority areas such as towns in the Shan State: Hsipaw to Thibaw, Hsenwi to Theinli or Thinli, Kengtung to Kyaingtong, Mong Hsu to Maing Shu, Lai-Hka to Laycha, Pangtara to Pindaya, the list goes on. The important point here is that the original name of each town has a meaning in the Shan language, while the new Burmanized names have none.11 Deprived of their tradition and history, ethnic minorities were further dissatisfied. Furthermore, the current prohibition on learning Shan language and on group gatherings creates more disparity between Shan and Burmese people.
11Lintner., op.cit.; Lintner gives a very clear detailed description of the linguistic and symbolic implication of Myanmar/Burma’s military junta. It is controversial whether Myanmar or Burma is the legitimate term for the country. In 1989, Burma’s military government changed the country’s name from Burma to Myanmar. The name “Burma” is claimed illegitimate because of its association with the British colonial administration, which named the territory after the main ethnic group in the country, the Burmese. “Myanmar” was chosen instead as it was argued that it includes the Burmese and all other “ethnic races”, including the Shan, the Karen, the Mon, the Kachin and more than 100 other ethnic groups. However, some argue that the use of “Myanmar” is a tool to legitimize the military government’s power, and that the term is not appropriate to encompass the multitude of people within the union, as the actual situation seems to be the opposite. As a result, those who do not recognize the military government’s power and its claimed legitimacy reject the “Myanmar” appellation. However, both names have been used interchangeably throughout history, with Burma being more colloquial and Myanmar more formal.

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THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND

2.2 - Pull Factors: The Availability of low-paid jobs, work for women and demographic factors in Thailand attract more people from Burma to become migrant workers
Human security is the significant pull factor in the dynamic force and cross-border activities. At the same time, invisible borders facilitate migration. Human networking across boundaries reinforces today’s familiar term- borderless world. The role of nationalism has subsided, yet some military-dominated states, like Burma, still insist on exerting nationalism by subjugating and discriminating other ethnic groups in the country. One significant characteristic of international migration in Asia is the increasing availability of work for women in the labour market. This is the result of rapid industrial development and increasing competition with a globalizing economy in the destination countries, together with the declining population of people of working age. Border areas between Thailand and Burma seem to be a favourable place for relocation due to its infrastructure development and access to cheaper labour.12 Border industrialization, with its huge demand for cheap female workers, empowers the border-crossing mobility of more and more Shan women. Moreover, many Shan migrant workers may benefit from the availability of professions that accompany border industrialization, namely construction, domestic, restaurant and entertainment work. The increasing number of jobs available to women and the influx of Shan female migrant workers go hand-in-hand with the increasing numbers of total Shan migrant workers in Thailand. Demographic factors also represent one of the main forces pulling migrants from neighbouring countries into Thailand. The average annual growth rate of the Thai population is now only 0.8 percent. The population of people aged between 15-39 years old is hardly growing in Thailand, whereas it is increasing by 1.3 percent per annum in Burma.

12 Kusakabe and Pearson, “Border industrialization and labour mobility: A case of Burmese migrant workers in border area factories”, Presented at the 10th International Conference on Thai Studies, Bangkok, Thailand, 9-11 January 2008

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PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

3 - An Increasing Influx of Foreign Workers in Thailand and Their Macroeconomic Contribution to the Thai GDP
Thailand has attempted to shift from being an agricultural country to an industrialized one since the 1980s, and has seen a rapid growth from the mid-1980s. After the financial crisis that hit Southeast Asia in 1997, the economic situation has somewhat recovered, and the flow of migration from neighbouring countries, namely Burma, Laos and Cambodia, was all the while increasing. This phenomenon is motivated by previously mentioned push-pull factors from both sending and receiving countries. Threats to their living conditions in Burma are pushing Shan people to move to Thailand, seeking human security. Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai have demonstrated a high level of employment demand for migrant workers, which can be observed through the registration periods and the high number of work permits being granted. Regarding the total number of immigrants permitted to work in Thailand (August 2008), Table 1 shows that Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai rank 1st and 3rd in having the highest number of illegal immigrants permitted to work in the country13, with 25,995 out of 56,990 being illegal ethnic minority immigrants being Shan. Furthermore, Table 2 reports the increasing number of migrant workers in Thailand by showing the estimated number of migrants and the Thai labour force between 1996 and 2006. The number of migrants has increased by 153 percent over this decade, from 700,000 to almost 1.8 million, compared to the Thai labour force has seen a mere increase of 13 percent, from 31.5 million to 35.7 million.

13 This refers to a certain number of immigrants who entered Thailand and worked illegally until the registration process was initiated, thus enabling them to change their legal status. This problematic registration policy which takes place after the immigrant’s entry into Thailand is later discussed in The Migration Legal Framework in Thailand in this chapter.

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THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND
Migration Flows from Burma
CHINA Arunachei Pradesh BHUTAN
Ka sh in

INDIA

group

BANGLADESH

Manipur

Any ethnic

KACHIN STATE

CHINA

Ka

sh

in
Sh an

Mizoram

SAGAING DIVISION

Chin & Burman
Arak an

CHIN STATE MANDALAY DIVISION MAGWE Nay Pyi Daw Naypyidaw DIVISION KAYAN STATE PEGU DIVISION

SHAN STATE
Sh an

R

oh

in

gy

a

Tachilek
Shan

Mae Sai To upper Northern Thailand

LAOS

ARAKAN STATE

n re n y a Ka Ka

An

th ye

ni

cg

ro

up

Rangoon IRRAWADDY DIVISION

Mae Sot Kayan

Myawaddy YANGON DIVISION MON STATE
e Any

By Air To Malaysia & Singapore

KAREN STATE

Karen To Tak province or Central Thailand

Burman
THAILAND

Sangkhla Buri

Mon

TENASSERIM DIVISION

Kawthaung

thni c gr oup

Bangkok
n Mo

0

100

200 km

Ranong Muslim To Malaysia To Southern Thailand

Source: Mekong Migration Network, Asian Migrant Centre, Resource Book: Migration in the Greater Mekong Subregion, 2005.

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PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION
Total Number of Immigrants Permitted to Work in Thailand (August 2008)
500 000

400 000

300 000

200 000

100 000

0

Total in Thailand Total Illegal Immigrants 3 Nationalities (Burma, Lao, Cambodia) Ethnic Minority (Shan=25 995)

Chiang Mai

Chiang Rai

Tak

558 560 501 570 56 990

59 222 39 213 20 009

13 192 7 806 5 386

28 128 26 619 1 509

Source: Office of Foreign Workers Administration (Work Permit), http://www.doe.go.th

An increasing Number of Migrants Workers in Thailand (1996-2007)
36 35 34 33 32 31 30
1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2005 2006 2006 2007

Millions of workers (total labour force in Thailand)

2.0

Millions of workers (total migrant workers) Registered migrant workers Non registered migrant workers

1.5

1.0

0.5

0
1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004

Note: An additional 53,202 migrants were registered under the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) in 2006. Most were already in Thailand. Source: Office of Foreign Workers Administration (Work Permit), http://www.doe.go.th Ministry of Labour, Presentation by Rattanarut, 2006 and Huguet, 2007, cited in Martin, The Economic Contribution of Migrant Workers to Thailand: Towards Policy Development, 2007.

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THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND

The following statistics of illegal Shan migrant workers and their macroeconomic contributions to Thailand’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are shown to address the significant role of Shan migrant workers in relation to Thai economic consumption.
Migrant Workers’ Contribution to the Thai GDP (Sector Analysis, 2005) Employment Total Agriculture Industry Services Total 15,120,000 7,320,000 13,500,000 35,940,000 Employment Migrants 720,000 720,000 360,000 1,800,000 Value added Output/Worker 2005 ($ million) 2005 ($ million) 16,931 82,863 76,808 176,602 1,120 11,320 5,689 4,914

20% 38% 20%
Agriculture Industry Services

42% 40%

40%

Total

Migrants

According to the table above, most studies report that, among the approximate 1.8 million migrant workers, 40 percent work in agriculture and fisheries, 40 percent in industry and construction and 20 percent in services. However, most migrant workers in Thailand are low-skilled. But given that some Thai workers are also low-skilled, the value-added calculations in the table next page were based on an assumption that migrant workers are either 25, 50, 75 or 100 percent as productive as Thai workers according to specific sectors of employment, in order to compare the average efficiency of Thai and migrant workers in doing the same job. For example, if migrants are 25 percent as productive as Thai workers in each sector, they account for 1.2 percent in agriculture, 2.4 percent in industry and construction, and 0.6 percent in services, or 1.6 percent of the total value-added in the Thai economy. If migrants are
23

PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

as productive as Thais in each sector, their total contribution would be 6.2 percent of the Thai GDP.

Assumptions or scenarios on the productivity of migrant workers compared to Thai workers, Migrant value-added ($ million, 2005) 25% Agriculture Industry Services Total 202 2,038 512 2,751 50% 403 4,075 1,024 5,502 75% 605 6,128 1,540 8,274 100% 806 8,150 2,048 11,004

Assumptions or scenarios about productivity of migrant workers compared to Thai workers, Migrant value-added (% of total, 2005) * 25% Agriculture Industry Services Total 1.2% 2.4% 0.6% 1.6% 50% 2.4% 4.9% 1.3% 3.1% 75% 3.6% 7.3% 2.0% 4.7% 100% 4.8% 9.8% 2.7% 6.2%

Note: Migrant employment is assumed to be distributed as follows: 25 percent in agriculture, 15 percent in fisheries, 40 percent in industry and 20 percent in services. * For further details on the migrant workers’ contribution to the Thai GDP, please refer to Philip Martin, The Economic Contribution of Migrant Workers to Thailand: Towards Policy Development, International Labor Organization (ILO) Sub regional Office for East Asia, ILO/EU Asian Programme on the Governance of Labour Migration, ILO/Japan Managing Cross-border Movement of Labour in Southeast Asia, Bangkok, 2007

It is controversial whether migrant workers have a negative impact on the status of Thai workers in the labour market. There are two perspectives on this topic, each varying from one extreme to the other.
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THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND

On the one hand, migrant workers and local workers are considered as perfectly inter-changeable. As a result, it is often thought that the entering of migrant workers into Thailand decreases the availability of jobs for local Thai workers. On the other hand, it is argued that migrant workers take on the jobs that local workers have abandoned. Regardless of which view one may adopt, the presence of migrant workers in the Thai labour market may encourage local workers to avoid migrant jobs, or so-called 3D jobs - dirty, difficult and dangerous.14 In fact, migrant workers are considered to be both substitutes and complements to national workers. Their presence undoubtedly affects wages as well as employment options for local workers. The degree to which migrants can be substitutes for or complements to national workers varies according to factors ranging from the workers’ respective characteristics to technologies of production, and from the nature of work to product markets.15 For example, in the border districts, we can associate lower wages with a higher share of migrants. As a result of the large numbers of unregistered migrants, the latter seem to be the main factor in putting downward pressure on Thai wages. Although it is obvious from the above consideration that many semi- and low-skilled goods and services consumed by Thai people are mostly produced by migrant workers from Burma, the importance of their existence in Thailand is still practically not recognized by the Thai government when it comes to the formation of border perceptions and migration. The Thai nation-state’s imagined boundary and definition of Shan migrant workers have framed Thai people’s ideology, in a way that Shan workers become marginalized. This kind of “prejudice” is repeatedly reflected in the Thai mass media, creating the image of
Martin, The Economic Contribution of Migrant Workers to Thailand: Towards Policy Development, International Labour Organization (ILO) Sub regional Office for East Asia, ILO/EU Asian Programme on the Governance of Labour Migration, ILO/Japan Managing Cross-border Movement of Labour in Southeast Asia, Bangkok, 2007, p.15 15 Martin, The Economic Contribution of Migrant Workers to Thailand: Towards Policy Development, International Labour Organization (ILO) Sub regional Office for East Asia, ILO/EU Asian Programme on the Governance of Labour Migration, ILO/Japan Managing Cross-border Movement of Labour in Southeast Asia, Bangkok, 2007.
14

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PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

Burma migrant workers as aliens, “dirty and dangerous, and the source of all social problems”16. This attitude creates a bias in viewing the migration issue, particularly among policy-makers. In conclusion, Thai people are still consuming goods and services which are mostly produced and provided by Burma migrant workers. Hence, one can not overlook the fact that Thai people live in association with Shan migrant workers, who represent the largest group of migrant workers in northern Thailand. This is the starting line from which the research was launched.

4 - The Migration Legal Framework in Thailand
According to Chantavanich (2006), the country’s immigration policies can be divided into 4 periods: the first period being the areabased, non-quota system that took place from 1992 to 1998, and the second being the area and quota-based system from 1999 to 2000. The third was the amnesty policy that occurred from 2001 to 2003. Finally, the last and most recent period was the second amnesty in 2004-2005. The chronology of registration policies is shown below. The most recent immigration policy that has been exercised is the registration procedure for all migrants from Burma, the Lao PDR and Cambodia at the Ministry of Interior (MOI). The registration system comprises two main parts. One needs to register at the MOI in order to get permission to stay and seek employment in Thailand until the designated deadline. For example, migrants who registered in July 2004 were given permission to stay until 30 June 2005. Once one gets permission and finds employment, he or she needs to apply to the Ministry of Labour (MOL) for a work permit which is valid for up to one year.

16

Kerdmongkol and Karnjanadit, Burmese Migrant Workers and Violence, midnight2545, 2002 <http://www.midnightuniv.org/midnight2545/document9652.html> [in Thai]

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THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND

As the registration policy states that a migrant has to find employment before applying for a work permit, a loophole in the policy is thus created, allowing the employer to play a key role in directing the migrant’s ability to apply for a work permit and to extend it. Moreover, the system is problematic in itself due to the workers’ dependent condition on their employers. Workers who registered with a specific employer were given permits valid for only one year, restricted to that particular employer. If their employment were terminated, so would their legal status in Thailand (MAP Foundation, 2007). In addition, employers usually keep the work permit in their possession, giving the worker a mere photocopy in order to limit his or her ability to leave for another job. In this case, migrants are often exploited by their present employers. As the registration in 2004 was gratis for migrants, the number of registered migrants doubled those who registered in 2001 and 2002. This assumes that there had been a large number of illegal migrants who had been working in Thailand without being previously registered. However, migrants who arrived in Thailand after 31 July 2004 have not been permitted to register. This lack of continuity in the registration policy has consequently contributed to the government’s inability to estimate the actual number of migrants and the resulting greater number of illegal migrant workers. The time of enforcement of migrant registration according to the Thai Immigration Law (1978) is also problematic. It allows Shan migrant workers to register after their entry into Thailand. This enables illegal brokers to exploit irregular Shan migrant workers due to their need of alien and work permit cards. I would recommend that the card registration procedure take place before migration in order to minimize the current illegal influx of Shan migrant workers. Moreover, the Thai government should adjust the total cost of the registration process to an affordable price in order to gradually restrict the role of illegal brokers.

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PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

Chronology of Registration Policies for Migrant Workers in Thailand (1992-2000)
Administration Year Policies Anand 1992 Allow migrant workers to be employed in 9 border provinces Chavalit 1996 Regulate and control the employment of illegal migrant workers in unskilled labour and house work 1998 Regulate and control the employment of illegal migrant workers only in the unskilled labour sector Chuan 1999 2000

- Regulate and control the employment of illegal migrant workers only in the unskilled labour sector - Arrest and deport illegal migrant workers who did not register - Promote the employment of Thai workers

Measure/Implementation Workers' Nationality Burmese Burmese, Laotian, Cambodian

Procedure

Medical check-up

Medical check-up and social security card

Area

9 border provinces

43 provinces

54 provinces

37 provinces

Sector of Employment

5 sectors

24 sectors

47 sectors

18 sectors

Quota

Not specified

106,684 persons

Unlimited

Duration of Work Permit

4 years

2 years

1 year

Government Office in Charge

Department of Employment, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare

Department of Provincial Administration, Ministry of Interior

Department of Employment, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare

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THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND

Chronology of Registration Policies for Migrant Workers in Thailand (2001-2005)
Thaksin
Source: Chantavanich (2006), in a paper presented at the 2007 Conference on “International Migration, Multi-local Livelihoods and Human Security: Perspectives from Europe, Asia and Africa.” At the Institute of Social Studies, the Hague, 29-30 August 2007.

2001 - First amnesty to all illegal migrant workers in the unskilled labour sector - Promote the employment of Thai workers

2002

2003

2004 - Second amnesty to all illegal migrant workers in the unskilled labour sector and to their family members - Promote the employment of Thai workers

2005
- Extension of the second amnesty to all illegal migrant workers in the unskilled labour sector and to their family members - Arrest all illegal migrant workers who do not register - Promote the employment of Thai workers

- Extension of the first amnesty to all illegal migrant workers in the unskilled labour sector - Arrest all illegal migrants workers who do not register - Promote the employment of Thai workers

Measure/Implementation Burmese, Laotian, Cambodian

Medical check-up and social security card

76 provinces 2 major sectors: unskilled labour and house work Unlimited 814,247 persons

11 sectors

6 sectors

Unlimited

409,339 persons

1 year
Department of Employment, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and private company Department of Employment, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare

Department of Employment, Ministry of Labour

Department of Employment, Ministry of Labour, and Department of Provincial Administration, Ministry of Interior

29

Chapter 2

A Comparative Analysis of the Different Perceptions of Borders and of the Cost-Benefit Assessment Between the Thai Government, Shan Migrant Workers, Thai Employers and Informal Brokers
1 - Human Security and Migration
1.1 - Human Insecurities in Burma as Factors in Migration
“People move because of some threat to security or to improve their security. In so doing, they are often seen as a threat to the security of the receiving population, or at least sections thereof, particularly if the movement is large enough in numerical terms or dissimilar enough in qualitative terms.” (Graham, 2000) In Wongboonsin’s work on Human Security and Transnational Migration, she points out that the transnational migration of labourers in Thailand is induced by the problem of human insecurity within the countries of origin and results in a widening and deepening scope of
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PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

human insecurity in both sending and receiving countries.17 At this point, I would like to clarify the dimensions and extent of threat and security in the above argument which is also referred to in this research. To Shan migrant workers, insecurity can be visible or perceivable only when the previous or current conditions of life are threatened. When people perceive threats to their immediate security, they often become less tolerant. The oppression and perceptions of injustice of Shan people inflicted by the Burma military, who invade their villages, take their food and land - the first two priorities in their hierarchy of needs - have led to a violent protest and armed conflicts against authoritarianism between the Shan and Burmese armies. These situations have also motivated Shan local people to migrate to where they believe they can broaden their range of choices in terms of economy, food, health and personal/political security. Moreover, their destination needs to be a place where they believe they can exercise these choices safely and freely, where they can be relatively confident that the opportunities they have today will not be totally lost tomorrow.18 In the case of Shan migrant workers, migration is also driven by the many images and messages emitted particularly from Thailand through the development of global communications and entertainment networks. Shan migrant workers mostly receive outside information through radio and television. Personal networks also play a significant role through the accounts of returning migrant workers of life outside Burma. It has helped to expand awareness of life beyond the borders and to create the image of a more civilized and secure lifestyle in Thailand. “Imagination and Hope of Betterment” (according to Shan informants corresponds to the comparatively higher number of choices at the destination) and is the
17 Wongboonsin, Human Security and Transnational Migration: The Case in Thailand (The 21st Century Centre of Excellence Programme “Policy Innovation Initiative: Human Security Research in Japan and Asia”, Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University, Japan, 2004). 18พรพิมล ตรี โชติ, ชนกลุ่มน้อยกบรัฐบาลพมา, กรุ งเทพฯ: สํานักงานกองทุนสนับสนุ นการวิจย และมูลนิ ธิโครงการตําราสังคมศาสตร์ และมนุ ษยศาสตร์ , ั ่ ั 2542, หน้า 51-90. Trichot, The Burmese Government and the Ethnic Minority Groups [In Thai] (The Thailand Research Fund and The Foundation for The Promotion of Social Sciences and Humanities Textbooks Project, Bangkok, 1999), pp.51-90.

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THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND

push factor influencing Shan migrant workers’ cost and benefit assessment of migration. However, whether Shan migrant workers can achieve the aim of widening their choices and whether a new form of insecurity must be traded off for the achievement of another will be discussed in the following section.

1.2 - More Human Securities or Less Human Insecurities? The Post-Migration Situation in Thailand
Labour movements from the Shan State into Thailand create multidimensional impacts on both source and destination countries at micro and macro levels, affecting not only the migrant at an individual level, but also their family and community, and at national and regional levels. This issue is raised in order to explain how the forms and conditions of human insecurity change after the migration process. 1.2.1 - At the Individual Migrant Level Due to their illegal status and lack of skills, in the short term perspective, illegal Shan migrant workers are at risk of poor and abusive working conditions, coupled with irregular income. This economic insecurity causes both the unplanned or extended migration time frame in Thailand and their chronic migration after returning to the Shan State. In the short term, some may enjoy higher wages, but in the long run, some may end up in an unsustainable professional life in Thailand fraught with not only financial problems (debt repayments for migration fees and relatively higher living costs), but also with fewer opportunities in terms of skill development or even, in some cases, basic education. In this situation, it can be argued that the freedom of migrant workers’ in professional terms is defined by different actors such as the military government in Burma, Thai brokers, Thai employers and the Thai government. In terms of health insecurity, their hope of gaining a higher number of socio-economic choices has led to their assessment of health
33

PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

risks from poor working conditions as a mere trade-off for their higher income in Thailand. Most Shan migrant workers believe that it is more secure to work in Thailand than in Burma. The way in which they perceive securities varies from one life condition to the other at a given place and time. Their insecure professional life in Burma is expressed through the lack of freedom in selecting jobs, in daily life and in managing their income.19 However, conditions of insecurity in Thailand exist in different forms. “At home we are treated by the Burmese government unequally. We are forced to behave and follow the government’s unjust rules and orders. We cannot refuse the military if they want to take our agricultural products and possessions. Moreover, we are prohibited to teach and learn our Tai Yai language. I once was arrested by the military on this unfair charge and forced to sign a document stating that we will not continue to study our language.” “Although it is easier to live and work in Thailand, we are treated unequally by Thai employers. We are often threatened to be fired and sent back to Burma if we ask for holidays or sick leave.”
ิ ่ Source: พรสุ ข เกดสวาง (บรรณาธิ การ), คนทอตะวัน : สิ บบทสนทนากับผู้ลภัย ี้ และแรงงานอพยพจากประเทศพม่ า , เชียงใหม่, ไทย, เพื่อนไร้พรมแดน, 2545, หน้า 5-6, 13-14. Pornsuk Kerdsawang (ed.), Kon Tor Ta Wan: Ten Conversations with Refugees/ Displaced Persons and Migrant Workers from Burma [In Thai] (Chiang Mai, Thailand, Pern Rai Pom Dann, 2002), pp. 5-6, pp.13-14.

“The broker system manages the chronic selling of migrant workers. This means that migrant workers go from one broker to the other until one of them manages to sell them to an employer for the highest price. This chronic selling causes the chronic debt to each new broker. As a result, an amount is deducted from their salary each month in order to pay the broker’s fee. Consequently, the possibility of acquiring savings to expand their choices and opportunities becomes almost unattainable. Most are unaware of their rights and describe their circumstances as sheer bad luck. After a certain period of time, some of them choose to save money in order to move back to their original country.”
Source: A MAP (Migrant Assistance Programme) Foundation Staff, interviewed by the author at the MAP Foundation, Chiang Mai, Thailand, February-March 2008

19

Such as their commitment to military provisioning and unpaid labour.

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THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND

To summarize the issue of Shan migration in relation to human security, the number of choices and the opportunity to utilize these choices are indicators of improved conditions at the destination, not only for the individual but also for his/her children and the rest of the family back in the Shan State. “There is nothing here to compare to the big roads and department stores in Chiang Mai at all. I know many people who moved to work in Thailand and later decided not to go back to the Shan State because they started getting used to the modern life in the big cities. I think they just can not stand the simple life back here. There is nothing to buy.”
Source: A Shan migrant worker who lives on the Burma side of the border with Thailand where she has worked for 10 years until now, interviewed by the author, February-March 2008

“Everything in Rayong is better than the conditions back home. We earn more money more easily here, so we can save enough money to send back home every month. Moreover, there are a lot of “massage parlours” here, too.”
Source: A 17-year-old Cambodian male migrant worker, interviewed by the author in Rayong province, February-March 2008

Thus, in this sense, it is not necessarily the greater availability of commodities at the destination, but rather the command over goods and services, whether self-produced or otherwise, that attract migrant workers. Choices, to Shan migrant workers, refer to choices in terms of commodity possession. The more money they earn, the more commodities they can obtain, coupled with the relatively higher living standard in Thailand. “In the Mae Suai District, only two percent of Shan people are involved in crime or illegal drug trade. To us, we feel neutral towards Shan people. Most of them work and live a simple life, without causing so many problems compared to hill tribes. If we compare Shan migrant workers to Thai workers who are at a similar socio-economic transition, we think the former develops their economic status much better than the latter. This might be explained by the stronger need for Shan migrant workers, whose status is alien here, to improve their socio-economic conditions and by their willingness to struggle.”
Source: A policeman from Mae Suai police station, Chiang Mai, Thailand, interviewed by the author in Chiang Mai, August-September 2008

35

PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

Nevertheless, Shan migrant workers seem to ignore the costs of this so-called betterment, often demanding higher investment, such as bribes to local Thai policemen as a guarantee to ignore their illegal status in Thailand. “It is difficult to bring a charge against Thai employers when migrant workers do not receive the full amount of their salary. It is widely known that bribery exists between Thai employers and local authorities, not to mention the informal agreement between informal brokers and Thai employers regarding debt collection (bribery fee and broker fee), deducted from the employee’s salary. ”
Source: A Shan migrant worker who used to work in Thailand and has now moved back to Tachilek, Burma, interviewed by the author in Tachilek, February-March 2008

In conclusion, there seems to be some recklessness in the assessment of costs and benefits on the part of Shan migrant workers, since they mostly assess improved conditions by the value of money they can earn from working in Thailand. On the contrary, they forget to take working conditions and the availability of merely temporary jobs into account. As a result, they can not live on a regular basis and rely more and more on the notion of chance. 1.2.2 - At the Household Level Improved human security at the household level can be expected from migrant remittances. Many Shan migrant workers perceive the contribution of their migration to their household back in the Shan State merely in financial terms. However, the remittance may not improve their family’s living and economic conditions. In this research, we may find that most Shan migrant workers are subject to recruitment fees. “The most common practice of human trafficking is the phenomenon of bringing Shan migrant workers from their hometown in the Shan State to the Burma-Thailand border via informal brokers, who either demand payment of travelling fees at the place of origin if funds are available, or collect it as a debt at the destination. After that, they will be taken to find jobs. Although the broker’s fees start at a fixed rate, the Shan migrant workers are not informed of the other costs that will be incurred, nor are they made aware of the
36

THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND

specific place they will be taken to, who they will work for, their salary details, the terms of employment or the debt that often follows. When they left their homes, none of the Shan migrant workers knew exactly how much the trip to Thailand would cost, nor did they learn of the specific patterns of the travelling route. As a result, most of their savings they made from working in Thailand are spent to reimburse the recruitment fee.”
Source: A Shan migrant worker who used to work in Thailand and has now moved back to Taung Gyi, Burma, interviewed by the author in Taung Gyi, February-March 2008

As a result, these remittances become the main source of funding to pay back debts and interests. The financial burden created by the migration determines how long the migrants work in Thailand, depending on each informant’s situation. However, for some families, remittances play a prime role in minimizing household economic poverty and improving housing, education and healthcare. “I migrated to Thailand about 40 years ago because I think it is easier to earn money and to make a living in Thailand than in Burma. After I had worked for a certain period of time and had gathered some savings, I bought a piece of land and put my daughter’s name on the title deed, as I did not get Thai nationality, but my daughter who was born in Thailand did”.
Source: A 65 and 60 year-old Shan couple in Bann Rom Po Thong, Tha Ko Town, Mae Suai District, Chiang Rai, Thailand, interviewed by the author in Chiang Rai, February-March 2008

Even though the real benefits of these remittances are often questionable as to whether they are spent towards a productive investment or wasted on luxury non-productive consumption, remittances can help provide a stimulus for local suppliers and local industry. However, outward migration from the Shan State is also likely to cause family problems. The sizeable number of Shan female workers migrating to work in Thailand has produced a social and cultural gap of gendered contribution in the private sphere in Burma, creating a distortion in family- and child-care.

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As people leave with the expectation of socio-economic benefits at the destination, the demographic trend of Shan-Thai people from old Shan villages in north-eastern Shan State and rural areas in northern Thailand has resulted in an aging society. On the other hand, upon examining the recent Shan migrant workers in Thailand overall, specifically in urban areas, its demographic trend is increasingly full of young and working-age migrant workers.
Source: Local authorities who work at Tachilek police station in Burma, interviewed by the author in Tachilek, February-March 2008

1.2.3 - At the Community Level Even though remittances may represent a considerable contribution to some families and even their community, they may also increase, and therefore worsen, the income gap between people and households within a certain community. “The problem that has recently surfaced in our community is the lack of human resources within social work. The media and the neighbours who receive remittances give new meanings to money and its value, which then have a profound influence on young Shan people’s perception of money. Their lack of choices and cases of successful migrant workers in Thailand considerably push them to struggle for higher education or more money-making jobs, thus leaving their former identity.”
Source: Local authorities who work at Tachilek police station in Burma, interviewed by the author, FebruaryMarch 2008

“Their friends and relatives networks that are currently working or used to work in Thailand have a considerable influence on their decision to migrate. A simple story of better infrastructure, higher wages and higher purchasing power effectively attracts Shan local people to migrate with the expectation of experiencing the same things. Bad experiences of migration to Thailand within their social networks are assessed by this group as unavoidable bad luck.”
Source: Local authorities who work at Tachilek police station in Burma, interviewed by the author, FebruaryMarch 2008

The examples of successful Shan migrant workers induce more migration from the Shan State to Thailand.
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THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND

1.2.4 - At the National Level -Boosting economic growth in the labour receiving countryThai employers can enjoy cheaper Shan labourers, helping to fill the gaps in 3D (Dangerous, Dirty, Difficult) tasks avoided by domestic workers. Also, Thailand, as the labour-importing country, can use the availability of Shan migrant workers as a tool to keep a lid on rising wages.20 This means consumers generally benefit from cheaper goods and more affordable services, such as cheaper Shan maids who an increasing number of Thais are employing. Semi and unskilled jobs, which are mostly performed by Shan migrant workers, have contributed to higher production with lower costs for the export market and have come to be associated with the increase of the Thai national income. Thus, Shan migrant workers’ mobility can be seen as a variable boosting Thai economic activity.21 Nevertheless, there are still concerns and dissatisfaction among domestic workers who are afraid that the influx of Shan migrant workers is synonymous with the displacement of local workers and the depression of their wages. “We treat both Thai and migrant workers all the same. However, I think other Thai employers prefer to hire Shan migrant workers due to the cheaper wages. They are easy to control and order. At least they can understand Thai better than Burmese or Karen migrant workers can.”
Source: A Thai employer who owns an agricultural farm and hires Shan migrant workers, interviewed by the author in Chiang Mai, Thailand, February-March 2008

-Negative impacts on long-term economic developmentThe unsystematic flows of Shan migrant workers not only lead to the failure of the Thai government to control the invisible flows of labour
Martin, The Economic Contribution of Migrant Workers to Thailand: Towards Policy Development, International Labour Organization (ILO) Sub regional Office for East Asia, ILO/EU Asian Programme on the Governance of Labour Migration, ILO/Japan Managing Cross-border Movement of Labour in Southeast Asia, Bangkok, 2007, pp.15-16. 21 The Institute of Asian Studies, Migrant Workers from Burma to Thailand, for a seminar “Reviewing Policies and Creating Mechanisms to Protect Migrant Workers”, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, 2003, pp. 17-19.
20

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PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

migration, but also affect the possibility for Thailand and Burma to reach higher capacities for their national economies and, especially in the case of Thailand, to upgrade its international competitiveness. According to the ADB22, Thailand is classified as a middle-income country moving towards more skill-intensive activities and production. Thus, as a result of the great influx and availability of low-skilled Shan migrant workers, both the governmental and private sector are less motivated to invest in more productive human resources, which is the main factor in gaining higher competencies in the world market. This has minimized the country’s ability to move into higher value-added economic activities. In the short term perspective, it may seem that Thailand gains huge benefits from cheap Shan labour. However, in the long run, the country will not be able to avoid facing severe competition from countries with high technological capacities and labour-intensive strategies of development, given the fact that the number of industrial countries with outsourcing market strategies is greatly increasing.23 In turn, Burma, being the country that is sending its labour force elsewhere, is also losing the opportunity to develop its human resources of people of working age. Adequate human resources would have enabled the country to optimize its economic capacity and to be included in the category of middle-income countries at a further stage.24 Furthermore, with the minimal opportunities to develop labour skills while working in Thailand, these Shan migrant workers remain lowskilled labourers and unavoidably become part of the aging population, thus carrying a financial burden to society, rather than building a productive workforce. Unless awareness of this circle of circumstance is raised, the economic drive of the entire ASEAN region toward acquiring
Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asian Development Outlook 1998, Manila, 1998, cited in Wongboonsin, Human Security and Transnational Migration: The Case in Thailand, Keio University, Japan, 2004, p.21. 23 Wongboonsin, Human Security and Transnational Migration: The Case in Thailand (The 21st Century Centre of Excellence Programme “Policy Innovation Initiative: Human Security Research in Japan and Asia”, Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University, Japan, 2004), pp.21-25 24 Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asian Development Outlook 1998, Manila, 1998, cited in Wongboonsin, Human Security and Transnational Migration: The Case in Thailand, Keio University, Japan, 2004, p.22
22

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THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND

the sustained opportunities and choices for people to lead their daily lives and achieve the basic human needs of food, shelter, clothing, education and healthcare to their highest potential, may take too long. 1.2.5 - At the Regional Level -Regional cooperation on international migration in ASEANLabour-exporting countries are keen to lower the barriers to international labour migration, while labour-importing countries have asymmetrical policies that regard the import of unskilled/semi-skilled workers as politically and socially sensitive, and are more inclined to favour flows of professional/skilled workers and business persons.25 This situation is reflected in ASEAN cooperation. Prospects of an ASEAN free labour market remain remote as the vision for the ASEAN Economic Community, which is hoped to be realized by 2020, includes only free movement of skilled labour. Cooperation is still limited on the core migration issues, such as orderly recruitment of migrant workers, protection of migrant workers’ rights, acceptance of asylum seekers, compensation for the loss of skilled workers and the facilitation of circular migration and remittance flows. However, in reality, the influx of unskilled labourers within ASEAN is increasing heavily and the Thai government is failing to systematically manage its flow in accordance with legal procedures. My concern is that the lack in addressing this unsystematic migration movement represents an important barrier for ASEAN to reach the goal of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) in 2015 regarding the regulation of international migration flow.26 These
25 Wongboonsin, Human Security and Transnational Migration: The Case in Thailand (The 21st Century Centre of Excellence Programme “Policy Innovation Initiative: Human Security Research in Japan and Asia”, Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University, Japan, 2004) 26 United Nations (ESCAP: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific), Ten as One: Challenges and Opportunities for ASEAN Integration, Bangkok, 2007. The Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) establishes several areas of cooperation as the following: 1) Investment and Financial Flows; 2) Trade Integration; 3) Management of International Migration Flows; 4) Control of Communicable Diseases and their Spread across Borders; 5) Environment Sustainability; 6) Energy Security; 7) Information Infrastructure; 8) Transport Infrastructure.

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failures are partly due to the low level of collaboration between governments and employers, especially to the reluctance of employers in labour-importing countries to commit themselves to improve the migrants’ working conditions and skills. What is still missing in the regional context is an institution established to formulate labour migration policies and to implement these on a regional level. I believe that the analysis of the perceptions of borders and the migration costs and benefits assessment of each actor involved constitute the essential ingredient that can lead to a new framework of human migration, borders and human security for policymakers to approach and use in identifying the migration problem.

2 - Three Actors’ Perceptions of Borders, Their Cost-Benefit Assessment and the Migration of Shan Migrant Workers
2.1 - The Thai Government’s Perception of Borders: Legal Borders vs. Social Borders
The objective of this section will be to identify how the different perceptions and functions of borders between the Thai government, Shan migrant workers, Thai employers, and informal brokers shape the migration behaviours of Shan migrant workers and perpetuate the illegal migration phenomenon. In order to do so, we will engage in an in-depth analysis on how the various definitions and functions of borders according to the Thai nation-state and its active body, the Thai government, were formed and have effectively influenced governmental immigration policies at both macro and micro levels. “In the indigenous polity in which the power field of a supreme overlord radiated like a candle’s light, the tiny tributaries were always located in the overlapping arena of the power fields. In the indigenous interstate relations, the overlapping margin of two power fields was not necessarily considered a problem unless it
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THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND

served as a bridge for the enemy to invade. For a modern state, however, the overlapping frontier is not permissible. The division of territorial sovereignty between states must be clear-cut at the point where both power fields interface. To transform a pre-modern margin to a modern territorial interface, or to create a modern edge of a state out of a pre-modern shared space, there could be more than one possible boundary, and all of them would be equally justified because the boundary could be anywhere within the overlapping arena, depending on how the sovereignty of a tributaries was decided.” In the wake of modern state boundaries, administration, boundary demarcation and mapping are equipped to keep boundaries fixed and sovereignty exclusive.27 “There has always been a tension between the fixed, durable and inflexible requirements of national boundaries and the unstable and flexible requirements of people. If the principle fiction of the nation-state is ethnic, racial, linguistic and cultural homogeneity, then borders always give the lie to this construct.”28 According to Anderson29, borders (which Anderson refers to as frontiers) are both institutions and processes. In order to maintain state sovereignty and rights to individual citizenship, borders were institutionalized and employed by state governments. Borders function through the imagination of each individual within the state boundaries. Borders, thus, are made capable to control the people within them. Given this, they create a sense of both political and social separateness and otherness. This function of borders simultaneously excludes people who live in the border areas from national society. Borders emphasize people’s heterogeneity and create the phenomenon that distinguishes them from homogeneous and powerful zones at the state core. In other words, borders are also recognized by

Winichakul, Siam Mapped: A History of the Geo-Body of a Nation (Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 1997), pp.100-101. 28 Horsman and Marshall, After the Nation-State, 1994 29 Malcom Anderson, Frontiers: Territory and State Formation in the Modern World, 1996
27

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PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

Anderson as the markers of political and socio-cultural identities of both the people and the modern state.30 In an era of the cultural globalization and internationalization of economics and politics, the modern idea of defined legal borders has appeared, as opposed to the traditional concept of fluid borders. My concern is that globalization and liberalization have opened the border and eased state controls for high-skilled workers, but have limited the movements of low-skilled workers, including their goods, capital and information. It is controversial that the nation-state in the era of capitalism demands a greater number of cheap labourers to fulfil its economic objectives, while it imposes selective immigration policies on migrants, especially low-skilled workers. In the case of the Thai government, they have to balance the needs of the nation’s two public entities: the Thai employers’ demand for cheap labour and the Thai working-class opposition to surpluses of foreign workers who increase competitiveness within the labour market. The government has to control potential effects on national unemployment, a drain on public and private funds, and public dissatisfaction, while maximizing its national economic capacities and interests. Borders for the Thai government sometimes serve as a tool to define the eligibility of required cheap migrant workers, and often act as a screen or filter which functions through a defensive legal wall. Borders, in this sense, determine who is eligible for the governmental protection of human security. However, many studies on borders and boundaries with regard to migration, when tracing the evolution of national and international boundaries and examining their structures and functions, are mostly focused on the formal arrangements made between states, often failing to take into account the needs, desires and other realities of the people who live at the borders, as well as the cultural significance of borders to the people living there.31

30 31

Donnan and Wilson, Borders: Frontiers of Identity, Nation and State, p. 5. Donnan and Wilson, Borders: Frontiers of Identity, Nation and State, p. 11.

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THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND

The Thai government’s perceptions of physical and geographical borders can not solely explain the perpetuating illegal migration phenomenon. Addressing how the definition of social borders among the locals influence their migration will attempt to supplement the yetlacking correspondence of border perceptions between state and nonstate actors, which is the main barrier to decreasing the degree of illegal and unsystematic migration. Social borders, in the case of Shan migrant workers, are interpreted according to their socio-economic benefits. They simply perceive the border areas along the Shan State of Burma and northern Thailand as “the same social borders where individuals are aware that they share a common status, that they are a single social category.”32 The transfusion of racial, linguistic and other cultural characteristics of the Tai ethnic group who live primarily in the Shan State and northern Thailand has formed a cultural homogeneity for the sake of socio-economic benefits. However, the legal borders imposed by Burma and Thai legislation have become a significant factor in separating insiders from outsiders in terms of both legal status and social identity. I would like to conclude that perceptions of social borders among Shan migrant workers overlap each other when it comes to determining their migration behaviour. 2.1.1 - Benefits In conclusion, borders according to the Thai government serve as both a geo-political and economic line dividing two nation-states that practice two different legal systems and economies. Borders are formalized as a mechanism to create a sense of superiority towards the other and unity among their own, whereby a status of inferiority is attributed to illegal migrant workers, such as the Shan, who are considered an economic threat to Thailand due to decreasing job opportunities. Imagined borders are also utilized to formulate governmental immigration policies, which fluctuate between restrictive and welcoming ones depending on the economic demand of cheap migrant workers.
32

Merton, ‘Social Theory and Social Structure’, in “Social Borders: Defintions of Diversity”, Current Anthropology, vol.16, no.1, 1975, pp.53-72

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PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

Furthermore, borders defined by the nation-state lead to the emergence of local powers governing access to social and public services in Thailand. Thai local authorities, such as border patrol policemen or local government officers, at the border areas exploit the virtual existence of border lines and deportation laws as a means to gain both power and money from illegal Shan migrant workers. 2.1.2 - Costs The differences and lack of common perceptions of borders between the Thai government and non-state actors (Shan migrant workers, Thai employers and informal brokers) are the main factors perpetuating the illegal and unsystematic flow of Shan migrant workers to Thailand. This situation is costly for the government both directly and indirectly. In financial terms, huge national budgets are spent on preventing and deporting illegal migrant workers. At the same time, the government fails to organize the national budget on social welfare for the unnumbered migrant workers.33

According to the Thai national budget in 2008, 43.4 percent of 19.6 percent of the national budget in general administration was allocated to national security. 41.9 per cent of the national budget was spent on the community - education, public welfare and social work.

It is controversial that the national budget on community and social welfare, which is supposed to be allocated for Thai citizens, is largely consumed by migrant workers by means of social services such as public health and education. This problem remains ineffectively managed mainly due to the unavailability of reliable statistics on migrants and their consumption in Thailand. Furthermore, as a consequence of illegal and unsystematic migration, border problems such as the trafficking of humans, drugs, and illicit goods have risen and have become more
33

Although statistics are provided in Table 4, the government numbers are not reliable as the migration flow fluctuates from one day to the other.

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THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND

severe over time. In an effort to control this, the state allocates a greater number of human resources to patrol the borders.

2.2 - Shan Migrant Workers’ Perception of Borders: Borderless or Ethnic Borders - An Interpretation of Socio-Economic Demand
A Border commonly refers to the modern concept of nation-state boundaries, which is a static dividing line, developed and employed by political geographers. These kinds of national boundaries deal with its form, rather than its functions. This is a systematic accompaniment to the building of modern nation-states. An individual state is forced to form the more specific definitions of the locations of boundaries in order to claim the nation’s wealth and political unit contained within that defined territory.34 The borders, which are the main subject of this section, can not be understood in the above definition of boundaries. It can not be denied that modern boundaries constitute a formidable legal barrier in terms of migration. Nonetheless, in the societies along the borders of the Shan State and northern Thailand, this research has found that Shan people do not wholeheartedly perceive or commit themselves, whether economically and culturally, to either the Shan State or Thailand. Socio-economic assessment has become the significant factor in defining their social identity. 35

Petras, ‘The role of national boundaries in cross-national labor market’ in Cohen, Robin (ed.), The Sociology of Migration, pp.494-500. 35 Please refer to Shan informants in Table 6 in Chapter2 Tinker, ‘Burma’s Northeast Borderland Problems’, Pacific Affairs, vol. 29, no. 4, 1956, pp.324-325.
34

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PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

Tachilek-Mae Sai River

Tachilek (Shan State of Burma)-Mae Sai (Chiang Rai of Thailand) Border

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THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND

Tachilek-Mae Sai Border

According to a Thai-Shan informant who lives in Tachilek, a border town along the ThaiBurma border, some Shan villagers hold identification cards from both countries. This dual ownership is mostly acquired through official paper fraud among local networks. Their social identity, formally approved by their legal paper identity, fluctuates and is defined based on socio-economic benefits. Over the period of boundary demarcation, the individual nationstate attempts to integrate as many frontier peoples as possible in order to accumulate human resources, natural resources and land.36 Deprived of ethnic and social trust, the resistance from the Shan army and the quiet social conflicts among Shan individuals toward the Burmese government has risen during this process. The extremely unequal distribution of income and social welfare at the place of origin creates an impetus that drives Shan migrant workers to move near or across the borders where there may have perceivably greater socio-economic opportunities.
36

Donnan and Wilson, Borders: Frontiers of Identity, Nation and State, p.15.

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PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

Life along the Tachilek-Mae Sai Border

The existence of national boundaries creates concepts of crossborder activities, such as human migration, and requires the establishment of a governing administration. In other words, the movements of migrants need to be approved by both the sending and receiving states by means of formal administration. An individual person’s identity and travelling rights are defined by passports, passbooks, visas, and work permits. The governmental definition of boundaries as the legal spatial delimitation of nations is applied to people on both sides of the Thai-Burma border, neglecting sociological attributes. “Few people cross many boundaries, and when they compare one boundary with another they naturally consider their own personal experience; they usually have little opportunity and less inclination to perceive the many functions which boundaries serve today and to discover what the boundary means in the lives of the people concerned,
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THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND

especially those who live nearest to the frontier.”37 Borders to Shan migrant workers and local people, therefore, are various cultural zones or spaces, independent from formal boundaries. This perception is out of tune with the governmental view on the issue of migration. “I think there is a very simple reason why most Shan people choose to go and find jobs on the Thai side of the border. Wages in the Shan State are very low and jobs are rare. People living along the Burma-Thailand border simply view the action of movement as a day-to-day practice. No one really perceives that they are two different countries. Many who are currently working or used to work in Thailand bring their friends or relatives to work at the same workplace afterwards.”
Mrs. A: A Shan woman who has been living and trading along the Tachilek (in Burma) and Mae Sai (in Thailand) border for more than 10 years, interviewed by the author in Tachilek, February-March 2008

As mentioned earlier, the existence of artificial nation-state boundaries is more recognized than its functions for local people. It can be explained that people in each delimited territory would not necessarily recognize the status of the boundaries that have been agreed to both by the individual state and its neighbours. “The recognition of one state as an international unit by another state does not necessarily assume that the recognizing state acknowledges the status of the boundaries of the recognized state.”38 The following case study supports the above idea and the main argument that the different perceptions and functions of borders among the different actors and the lack of correspondence between them perpetuate the flow of illegal migration. The migration of people residing in the border areas is distinct from that of ones staying farther inland from the borders. Shan migrant workers from the Shan State clearly demonstrate their exclusive perceptions of borders. Since they do not recognize the legal existence of delimited boundaries, Shan migrant workers perceive the action of
Boggs, International Boundaries: A Study of Boundary Functions and Problems, p.3 Cukwurah cited in Petras, ‘The role of national boundaries in cross-national labor market’ in Cohen (ed.), The Sociology of Migration, op. cit., p.496.
37 38

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Observation Hole on the Burma Side

Local Society along the Tachilek- Mae Sai River. On the left, Thailand, and on the right, Burma

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border-crossing as a general movement, not international migration, derived from the evolution of modern boundaries. Consequently, they lack the concept of committing their movement to formal state immigration policies and legislation. Furthermore, the nature of the borders39 virtually facilitates their ability to move, while making the everyday informal deportation of Shan migrant workers by Thai border patrol authorities at the border ineffective.

Due to the nature of the terrain such as non-patrolled forests and the long narrow rivers separating the two countries, movement can be relatively free for both legal and illegal migrant workers. Therefore, people living along the border on both sides can just go back and forth freely and easily every day. The everyday informal practice of deportation by the receiving country and punishment by the original country along the border does not correspond with the Thai governments’ immigration policies. For example, on the Burma side, local authorities normally release the deported migrants with no formal recording, but instead take bribes from them. And in some cases, they allow or even help the arrested migrant workers to cross back into Thailand.
Source: A local authority from the Human Trafficking Department in the Tachilek area, interviewed by the author in Tachilek, February-March 2008

Their behaviours in informal migration, such as cyclic migration, daily migration, become illegal in the eyes of Thai government. This is because there is a lack of correspondence between the borders defined by these two different entities. Shan migrant workers acknowledge the nature of borders more as cultural zones where the movement of people along the borders implies a hidden meaning in their lives’ securities. Examples of these securities are trading, working and earning money on the other side of the border, thus affirming their economic securities at both individual and household levels.

39 Interview with a local authority in the Human Trafficking Department in the Tachilek area.

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Informal Shops for Money Exchange along Tachilek-Mae Sai Border (Burma Side)

The functions of borders from a local perspective regarding to the movements of humans and goods fluctuate between the informal and formal governance of local authorities, which is somewhat conditioned by local corruption and the connections between local authorities and people. On the other hand, the Thai nation-state perceives the concept of state borders more in terms of a delimitation of geographical boundaries - the invisible lines that separate the Thai state from others, whereby “boundaries in the state mind are paper walls created by the contractual relations with the mutual agreements among modern nation states.”40
40 Petras, Elizabeth, ‘The role of national boundaries in cross-national labor market’ in Cohen, Robin (ed.), The Sociology of Migration, Cheltenham, UK and Brookfield, US, 1996, p.496.

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Immigration at the Burma-Thailand Border (Thailand in the foreground, Burma in the background)

Migrant Registration at Chiang Mai Provincial Office of Labour and Social Welfare

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2.2.1 - Benefits According to the above case study on Shan migrant workers, the border between Burma and Thailand is perceived as an indicator of their potentially expanding choices in terms of income, benefitting from the currency exchange rate from the expensive Thai Baht to the cheap Burma Kyat, and access to public services such as education and health care, which are inadequate in the district of origin. The number of choices and the migrants’ capability to utilize these choices indicate the improved conditions of human security at the destination. According to Amartya Sen41, “capability of a person is a freedom or ability of the person to choose the desired function of a commodity and his command over it.” In the case of Shan migrant workers, the higher capability or freedom, according to Sen’s definition, expected through migration is not only for the individual, but also for his/her children and the rest of the family back in the Shan State. Migration, thus, is done with the expectation of expanding their capability in their command over goods and services, in exchange of cash which is not allowed at the place of origin under the authoritarian regime. 2.2.2 - Costs Choices, in the case of Shan migrant workers, refer to choices in terms of the purchase and possession of commodities. The more money they earn, the more commodities they can obtain, in addition to a relatively higher living standard in Thailand. Yet Shan migrant workers seem to ignore the costs of this so-called betterment. New forms of economic and individual insecurity may appear from the beginning of their migration process. The degree of costs incurred by each migrant depends on the main actors involved, therefore on Burma and/or Thai informal brokers, Burma and Thai local authorities, the Thai government and Thai employers. They unavoidably pay the price of becoming migrant
41

Sen, Inequality Re-examined, 1992, p.9

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workers through the invisible health risks, unexpected accidents42, unstable working conditions, the temporary nature of available jobs (farming, construction, etc…), legal trouble, fraud, and bribery burden.

Use of pesticides on agricultural farms

Mrs. B’s hands are contaminated with pesticides from working on the orange farm. However, she decided not to speak out about her health problem as she was worried she would get fired. Her costs and benefits assessment of being a migrant worker in Thailand was calculated with hope and fear, the hope to maintain her working status, and the fear of losing her job due to her health problem. To Shan migrant workers, economic security comes before health in the short term perspective. Besides some technical problems, such as the language barrier and money shortage, the long term and short term risks help explain this assumption. Or in other words, their health problem presents too few symptoms to make them aware of it in the short term, although it is an actual risk for the future.
Source: Mrs. Saowanee Auitakoon, a registered nurse at the Health Department for migrant workers mainly from Cambodia and Burma, Rayong Hospital, Thailand, interviewed by the author in Rayong, February-March 2008

42 Interview with Mrs. Saowanee Auitakoon, a registered nurse at the Health Department for migrant workers mainly from Cambodia and Burma, Rayong Hospital, Thailand, interviewed by the author in Rayong, February-March 2008

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A Shan migrant worker’s hands contaminated with pesticides

Based on this fact, questioning on how to promote health security for migrant workers is a need for concern. Dr. Kittisak Klabde, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health of Thailand, has expressed that failing to provide migrant workers with basic services will ultimately burden the health system and national well-being. Hence, this issue is another significant problem to which the Thai government and society need to pay more attention, for each year a huge amount of the governmental budget acquired from Thai peoples’ taxes has been spent on health services for migrant workers for the sake of everyone’s health security, but the results of preventing and improving migrants’ health conditions have not been effective.
Source: Mrs. Saowanee Auitakoon, a registered nurse at the Health Department for migrant workers mainly from Cambodia and Burma, Rayong Hospital, Thailand, interviewed by the author in Rayong, February-March 2008

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Risks of accidents at a construction site

Shan migrant workers on an orange farm

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“Functioning”, according to Amartya Sen, of Shan migrant workers in pre- and post-migration is different. “Functioning or the use of a commodity may determine the state of a person.” (Sen, 1992) Here, the state refers to the utility or satisfaction met by using the commodity in a specific way. Shan migrant workers might lack the freedom or ability to choose the desired function of a commodity or/and to function their possessed commodity at the place of origin. Due to political coercion, forms of exploitation limiting the potential functioning of commodities at the place of origin have manifested themselves in the post-migration destination in different ways. The essence is that their commodities and forced commitments to the Burma military at the pre-migration situation are transferred to different actors in post-migration. Commodities, such as agricultural products, and the commitment to the military in the form of unpaid labour, are replaced by new forms of exploitation such as bribes or gifts to Thai local authorities and the new commitment to Thai legal requirements or employers’ demands.

Low housing standard at a construction site

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In conclusion, their potential to expand their commodities in Thailand depends on informal brokers and Thai employers, while their freedom or ability to utilize these commodities, such as education or healthcare, as a migrant worker is stipulated by the approval of the Thai government.

2.3 - Thai Employers’ and Informal Brokers’ Perception of Borders: Economic Advantages from the Multi-Perceptions of Borders
Although human movements predate the globalization process, the scale and scope of human migration have expanded to unprecedented levels. The movement of people is, thus, one of the most fundamental aspects of the idea of a shrinking world, where transactions, trade, economic and cultural intercourse are conducted with fewer barriers of physical distance.43 However, labour movements still seem to be the only feature excluded from any free movements facilitated by the spirit of globalization and liberalization. “There is a growing consensus in the community of states to lift border controls for the flow of capital, information, and services and, more broadly, to further globalization. But when it comes to immigrants and refugees […] the national state claims all its old splendor in asserting its sovereign right to control its borders.”44 “Labor remains grounded by state boundaries and policies. In the case of labor import, national boundaries have traditionally been employed by the state in the interests of core capital to regulate the quality and quantity of alien labor with scant interference from the exporting government.”45 Ironically, too many restrictive immigration policies lead to the increase in numbers of cases of alien smuggling. This is because the recent restriction policies46 contradict each other over
43 Graham ‘The people paradox: Human movements and human security in a globalizing world’ in Graham and Poku (eds.), Migration, globalisation and human security, pp.186-187. 44 Sassen, S., ‘Losing Controls? Sovereignty in an Age of Globalization’, in Pecoud and Guchteneire Migration without Borders, UNESCO and Berghahn, p.13. 45 Petras, Elizabeth, ‘The role of national boundaries in cross-national labor market’ in Cohen, Robin (ed.), The Sociology of Migration, Cheltenham, UK and Brookfield, US, 1996, p.495. 46 Please refer to Tables 9 and 10: The registration policies of migrant workers in Thailand during 1992-2005. The unstable immigration policies lead to ineffective policy formulation and implementation.

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national boundaries: to a certain extent, they open borders to international capitals and information, while failing to manage and legalize a pool of foreign labourers who make use of the features of globalization, such as the availability of transportation and linkages in the migration system47, in seeking and migrating to the location where their labour can be exchanged for more desirable wages and living conditions. In the regional and global free market, labourers become the most popular commodities that function through middle non-state actors, such as informal brokers, who the conventional state actors fail to take into account in the migration phenomenon. They become a significant entity in facilitating the illegal process of migration over the years. They represent a legal grey zone48 both in the labour market and in border areas to run the broker business of informal recruitment, a process that had never existed in traditional human movements before the drawing of nation-state boundaries. Informal brokers somewhat perceive the theory of static clear-cut lines, as defined by the nation-states, but simultaneously take advantage of the practice of fluid movements in border areas. 2.3.1 - Benefits to informal brokers Informal brokers benefit from the process of informal recruitment, allowing them exclusive rights to dictate the conditions of repayment and employment. First, concerning the repayment of broker fees, the nature of the non-written contract between the broker and the Shan
47 Family and personal networks, the most influencing network to Shan migrant workers, represent one of linkages between sending and receiving countries which favour chain migration. Fawcett in Cohen (ed.) Migration, Diasporas and Transnationalism, pp.16-26.) 1) In the category of tangible/family and personal linkages, it refers to remittances and written or face-to-face communications flowing between migrants at the destination and their family or village members back home. 2) In regulatory/family and personal linkages, it can be explained by the culturally-based family obligations of migrant workers. Person-to-person obligations among relatives and fellow ethnics dictate the condition of sponsorship of potential migrants by former migrants. 3) For relational/family and personal network linkages, the socio-economic disparity at the micro level is a great motivation force for potential migrants. “Successful” Shan migrant workers serve as role models, while “failure” of return Shan migrant workers are seen as simple bad luck to the desperate. 48 A legal grey area in the border zones is where law enforcement fluctuates between the informal and formal governance of local authorities based on the relationship between informal brokers and border authorities.

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migrant worker leads to trickery through the imposition of broker and transportation fees, coupled with unstable and unfair interest rates. Furthermore, informal brokers profit greatly from the chronic selling of Shan migrant workers who are mostly incapable of paying off their huge debts to their Thai employers. Second, being in command of their employment status, informal brokers’ have the negotiating power for the price of labourers, which varies according to the employers’ need for cheap migrant workers and the availability of qualified labour. In order to continue reaping the benefits from the broker business, informal brokers accept to pay a certain amount of money to local border authorities to guarantee their status outside legal lines. “An amount was deducted from our salary on a monthly basis. We were told by our broker that it was deducted for transportation and broker fees that we could not afford in the first place, but he did not tell us how long these deductions would last. After I had worked one year at my first job, the same broker brought me to another workplace in Mae Hong Song (northern province of Thailand). It was an entertainment bar. I later realized that I was sold to the bar owner and expected to work as a sex worker. I could not stand those conditions for long. After two months, I escaped back to the Shan State with another broker.”
Source: A Shan migrant worker who used to work in Thailand and has moved back to the Shan State, interviewed by the author, February-March 2008

2.3.2 - Benefits to Thai employers Thai employers view borders as a means to ensure the availability of cheaper cross-national labourers. The hiring and use of Shan migrant workers, a relatively cheaper commodity, is profitable for business. In the agricultural sector, Thai employers not only cut costs by hiring cheap Shan migrant workers, but also increase productivity by using pesticides which have a highly detrimental effect on their health. Moreover, lowstandard accommodation and working conditions are commonplace in any low-skilled migrant job sector. The practice of informal recruitment and the existence of legal grey zones are at the root of these working conditions, allowing Thai employers to enjoy a privileged space of noncommitment to migrant lives.
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PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

“It is easy to find and hire migrant workers from Burma in this area. Many Shans who live along the Burma-Thailand border just walk across the Mae Sai River and find jobs mostly at construction sites or agricultural farms in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai or Mae Hong Son.”
A border patrol policeman at Tachilek police station, Shan State, interviewed by the author in Tachilek, February-March 2008

---o--“It is widely known that every orange farm in Chiang Mai uses a lot of pesticides. It is understandable. We just need to make sure that each year our productivity is sufficient enough to earn profits.”
A Thai employer who owns an agricultural farm in Chiang Mai, interviewed by the author in Chiang Mai, AugustSeptember 2007

---o--“It is difficult for Burma migrant workers in Thailand to make any requests to their Thai employers to claim their basic rights at work because they are hired illegally. There is no legal protection that guarantees their safety over there.”
A policeman at the Human Trafficking Department, Taung Gyi, Shan State, interviewed by the author in Taung Gyi, February-March 2008

2.3.3 - Costs to informal brokers and Thai employers While informal brokers and Thai employers are reaping the benefits from these various perceptions of borders, the legal risks of trafficking and employing illegal Shan migrant workers come at a cost. Bribery and voting for local authorities and politicians, such as village and township heads, are thus common practices for many employers as a means to manage these risks. Furthermore, nearby communities and the surrounding environment are affected by contamination from the use of pesticides on farms. Ironically, the contaminating products are distributed in the market where the buyers are Thai employers themselves as well as other Thai people. “Thai immigration legislation clearly stipulates that a Thai employer who intends to hire a migrant worker from Burma, the Lao PDR or Cambodia needs to accompany the migrant to apply for his/her visa and work permit. Furthermore, the amount of migrant workers they intend to hire must not exceed a designated quota. An employer who refuses to obey the law shall be arrested and fined.”
A government officer at the Provincial Labour Office of the Foreign Workers Administration in Chiang Mai, interviewed by the author in Chiang Mai, August-September 2007

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2.4 - The “Acquiescent Reciprocity”: A factor in the migration phenomenon
In addition to the different perceptions and functions of borders, socio-economic acquiescent reciprocity between the three entities is another significant factor that characterizes 1) The trend or changes in Thai immigration control 2) The migration behaviours of Shan migrant workers and 3) The degree of adherence to the law of Thai employers and informal brokers.
Acquiescent Reciprocity between the Thai government, Shan migrant workers, Thai employers and informal brokers
Contribution to the Thai GDP

Thai government Immigration policies

Sustaining the national economy

Social welfare provisions and legal status

Socio-economically "acquiescent reciprocity": Some reluctance in each entity's cost-benefit assessment in migration

"Open" immigration policies

Shan migrant workers Migration behaviours
Low standard working conditions

Thai employers / Informal brokers Degree of adherence to the law
Cheap Labour

2.4.1 - Acquiescent Reciprocity between the Thai government, Thai employers and informal brokers The Thai government’s immigration policies can not be formulated without the consideration of the Thai employers’ demand for cheap labourers, since the latter’s economic performance sustains and affects the national economy. Thus, the Thai government to a certain degree formulates and implements open immigration policies, not only to serve the previously mentioned purpose, but also to decrease the illegal broker business. However, Thai employers recognize that they must abide by
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the law to a certain extent in order for the Thai government to maintain and/or formulate open immigration policies. 2.4.2 - Acquiescent Reciprocity between the Thai government and Shan migrant workers Due to the large scale of employment of cheap migrant workers from Burma, the Thai government realizes the extent of Shan migrant workers’ contribution to the Thai GDP. Immigration policy formulation is, therefore, highly influenced by this. Shan workers’ migration behaviours are, on the other hand, shaped by the Thai government’s immigration policies. Their life strategies after their migration to Thailand are formulated and adopted based on their need for social welfare and legal status. For example, they acquiesce to practicing bribery due to their illegal status or they acquiesce to a high price for a fake alien card because they are desperate for healthcare services. 2.4.3 - Acquiescent Reciprocity between Shan migrant workers, Thai employers and informal brokers Because of their desperation for cash income, Shan migrant workers also acquiesce to the low standard of working conditions provided by Thai employers. On the other hand, Thai employers realize that they have to provide Shan migrant workers with basic needs such as accommodation or shelter, regardless of their quality in order to guarantee the availability of cheap migrant workers.

3 - Differences in the Perceptions of Borders and the Perpetuation of Illegal Migration
Based on the borders approach, I would like to conclude that differences in the perception of borders between the Thai government, Shan migrant workers, Thai employers and informal brokers, in addition to each actor’s cost-benefit assessment, not only perpetuate the flow of illegal migrant workers from the Shan State to Thailand, but also create human insecurities for Shan migrant workers.
66

Summary and Conclusion
1 - From the Solid Meaning of Borders by the Nation-State to the Different Perceptions of Borders by the Locals
“Ever since the creation of the modern nation-state, borders and their regions have been extremely important symbolic territories of state image and control. Yet border cultures are not constructed solely by national centre. In fact, most state borders have been places where people’s interaction on the one hand with the forces of the state, with its top-down notions of national culture, and on the other hand with peoples across the borderline, who are in their own contest over their “national culture”, have helped to fashion distinctive national societies and culture.”49 This research has attempted to tackle the issue of borders by examining the dynamics of lives and routines experienced by various actors involved in the migration phenomenon, namely border people or Shan migrant workers, the Thai government, Thai employers and informal brokers. Moreover, it has attempted to point out how the perceptions of borders of the three entities differ from one another in their construction and influence each other in various ways. At the same time, this research discusses why the top-down governmental policies do not

49

Donan and Wilson, Borders: Frontiers of Identity, Nation and State

67

PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

work effectively at the local level in managing illegal migration flows from Burma to Thailand. An era of commodity-defined needs creates economic dependencies on wages, driving people with low access to capital to move to other economic spaces where access to it is higher. In the capital-oriented economy in the age of the nation-state, human mobility depends on the availability of “transportation”, and no longer on feet and open frontiers50. After the colonial period, the movement of humans and goods across the nation-state’s borderlines had to proceed within the state’s legal framework, with the required documentation. “Whether “legal” or “illegal”, “official” or “unofficial”, the would-be crosser must enter into dialogue with the agents of the state and engage in practices ultimately determined by the state: either directly through compliance with and acceptance of state regulation, or indirectly, through avoidance, dissimulation and concealment.”51 “Invisible” borders, before the emergence of the nation state, were made “visible” and “measurable” after the state’s foundation. Modern state borders serve as a guard to their human and natural resources. They are politically and socio-economically strategic and symbolic to the state. Throughout this research, particularly in Chapter One, the notion of borders was discussed and illustrated by a historical and contemporary account of the Thai state’s relations with the Shan State of Burma. Borders transform the socio-economic structure of people living along the borders, while governmental immigration policies have been developed separately from the lives of border people. Since borders are used to mark the differences between “us” and “them”, borders can be both bridges and barriers for more opportunities in another political and socio-economic space. Whether and how Shan migrants’ border crossings will create opportunities or close them off to various actors involved in migration will be concluded in the border perceptions approach that is to follow.
50 51

Illich, Shadow work Donan and Wilson, Borders: Frontiers of Identity, Nation and State

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THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND

This research has attempted to illustrate the concept of borders according to three definitions and functions from three separate entities. Firstly, to the Thai government, borders are politically defined, delimited, and demarcated. They are simultaneously employed as a means to separate the Thai state from others and to join the trend of emerging nation-states. Given this particular function, borders are employed to maintain state control over the movement of people, goods and information, by those who are in a position of power at the state’s core and who may have never even visited border areas, but whose decisions affect the lives of border people. Immigration policies, which are formulated based on this top-down perception of borders, thus create loopholes and are ineffective in controlling the illegal flows of Shan migrant workers from the Shan State to Thailand. Secondly, to border people or Shan migrant workers, borders are not perceived as political frontiers or territorial zones which are standardized as a periphery in the geographical landscape, the people, and culture. Borders, on the other hand, imply the meaning or are symbolic of a centre for job opportunities and for socio-cultural variety. On the micro level, borders are constructed and function through a cultural perspective which transcends political borders. Social interactions give meaning to borders since border people cannot infer or deduce knowledge from the political and economic borderline defined by the state. Borders, to local people, however, function within two overlapping meanings of borders; the first being that the very existence of borders defined by the state creates frontier socio-economic activities for the locals, and second being that of social borders which are mainly discussed in Chapter Three. Thirdly, with regard to Thai employers and informal brokers, they seem to be a group of people who are hidden from the discussions of modern nation-state border issues, while quietly gaining the benefits. They obtain their definition of borders from both previously mentioned entities - the Thai government and Shan migrant workers - and apply them separately or/and mutually depending on the situation. On the one hand, by using the macro definition of borders, Thai employers and informal brokers make use of the non-stringency and inconsistency of
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PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

immigration laws and policies to take advantage of potential migrant workers both in the process of migration and work. On the other hand, they take into account and exercise the local meanings of borders to create and maintain their informal broker business in accordance with the Thai employers’ demand for cheap Shan migrant workers. According to the above perceptions of borders, I would like to conclude that borders function like a sponge whose features are flexible and absorbent. In the same way, modern borders can take some people in and/or exclude these people out of their territorial space. Its features and functions vary depending on whether and how it shapes the perception of those involved. The analysis of borders perceptions drives me to question whether and how illegal migration would be possible to control, given that the Thai state should try to balance the migrant workers’ fruitful economic contribution and their numbers. The Thai government has faced and answered to the dilemma that borders must remain business-friendly and “open” to cheap labour. However, it has failed to control an oversupply of low-skilled migrant workers from the last decade. The recent immigration controls by the Thai government attempt to curb migration the flows of low-skilled workers52 from three countries, namely Burma, the Lao PDR and Cambodia, rather than support and recognize the opportunities they have to offer. The lack of collaboration and correspondence at the borders, between the Thai government, Shan migrant workers, Thai employers and informal brokers has led to inconsistent immigration policies, as demonstrated in the migrant registration process from 1992-2005.53 Instead of adopting a mutualistic symbiosis approach, the Thai government employs one of parasitic symbiosis toward Shan migrant workers, thus creating a gap between the ambition of policy-makers and the actual situation. The parasitic symbiosis approach employed in the migration policy formulation (for
Pecoud and Guchteneire, Migration without Borders: Eassay on the Free Movement of People, UNESCO and Berghahn Books, p.2. 53 Please refer to Tables 9 and 10: The registration policies of migrant workers in Thailand during 1992-2005.
52

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THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND

policies implemented in post-migration) is the perspective that the Thai government loses its national benefits, while only Shan migrant workers are able to take advantage from the migration phenomenon. This is opposed to the actual relation between the Thai government and Shan migrant workers who can both gain benefits from the one another’s existence, also known as a mutualistic symbiosis relation. However, we can not take mutualistic and parasitic symbiosis approaches into account in analysing pre-migration policies as they have been neglected in the process of policy formulation, which is influenced by the government’s realization that Shan migrant workers contribute greatly to the Thai economy. The lack of coherence in policy-making may stir up antiimmigration feelings among the public, as well as among migrant workers who believe that the government is unable or unwilling to solve the problem. The contemporary trends in migration control take on two forms: external and internal. For external controls, receiving countries are more concerned about border security and attempt to encourage sending and transit countries to perform a more strict surveillance against irregular migration. This is found to be unsuccessful due to the lack of local perspectives in immigration and security policy formulations within both the sending and receiving governments. When external controls fail, the receiving government tries hard to establish internal controls over the undocumented migrants after their entry. Controls on workplaces are normally ineffective since it displeases Thai employers and could entail economically and politically detrimental consequences. Moreover, informal relations and networks among local authorities, Thai employers and informal brokers are important factors in determining how successful the immigration policies from the central government would be. Therefore, “another option is to control undocumented migrants’ access to social services. Immigration status is increasingly used to restrict access to welfare provisions, but this policy meets resistance: it is questionable from a human rights perspective, as it generates even greater exclusion for migrants and contradicts the inclusive nature of the welfare system”54
54

Cohen et al. (ed.), From Immigration Controls to Welfare Controls, London, Routledge.

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2 - Recommendations
Regarding the characteristics of border controls at the micro level, I would like to conclude that they are more a matter of symbols than of activities yielding actual results. The roles of local authorities are formally designated by the central government, but also informally influenced and directed by the nature of border people and border areas. The formation of national identity and authority by the central government does not completely work either for border authorities or people. This research tries to prove that this leads to a self-perpetuating process: the lack of mutual understanding of border perceptions and functions between various entities creates more problems for border controls implemented by the government. This may result in more human trafficking and illegal migration, which then call for further control. In this respect, border controls are policies that merely determine the status of “legal” or “illegal”.

2.1 - Inclusion of the Different Perceptions of Borders in Policy Formulation
It is worth noting that governmental immigration policies need to be reconsidered and adjusted in accordance with local situations in order to limit the number of illegal migrants. To achieve this, the government (Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Interior and Office of Foreign Workers Administration) needs to work collaboratively and to consider the other different perceptions of borders in order to formulate locally-oriented immigration policies. Furthermore, the government needs to be more concerned about the administrative system such as the transparency of the immigration process and the mechanisms of cross-checking among bureaus. In addition to these macro controls, it would be also more effective if the Ministry of Labour simultaneously made immigration and migration information more available at a local level both to potential migrants in the sending country (Burma) and to legal and illegal migrant workers in the receiving country (Thailand). Moreover, it is necessary for the Ministry of Labour to provide attractive benefits to
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THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND

informal brokers in order to encourage them to perform their roles within a legal framework. I would also like to emphasize that the more efforts the Thai government will make to pull Shan migrant workers into the legal area, the less human insecurities these people may face throughout the migration process.

2.2 - The Need to Accelerate the Legal Process and to Create Coherence in Immigration and Registration Policies
In contradiction to the immigration law of 1978, the process of migrant registration (please refer to Tables 1 and 2 in Chapter One) may only take place after the alien’s entry. As a result, it leads to the creation of loopholes when it is put into practice. Thai employers make use of this legal provision to register illegal migrant workers after hiring them. Accelerating the immigration process and creating coherence between immigration and registration policies are necessary steps to systematize the migration flows by means of the locally-oriented measures suggested above.

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Immigration Policies according to the Law on Immigration 1978 1. Regarding an alien who has not entered to the Kingdom yet 1.1. An alien who wants to enter to the country with the purpose of working shall require a “NonImmigrant Visa” delivered from the Thai consul or embassy in the country of origin. 1.2. Subject to the law on immigration, any person wishing to employ an alien in his/her business in the Kingdom may submit an application on behalf of the alien to the Director-General or official entrusted by the DirectorGeneral. The Director-General or official entrusted by the Director-General may issue a permit to an alien only after the alien’s entry into the Kingdom. 2. Regarding an alien who has already entered to the Kingdom 2.1. An alien who has been permitted entry to work in the Kingdom under the law on investment promotion or other laws shall submit an application to the Director-General or official entrusted by the Director-General within thirty days from the date of his/her entry into the Kingdom. 2.2. An alien who applies for a work permit must possess the following qualifications: 2.2.1. Having a place of residence in the Kingdom or having been permitted entry into the Kingdom for temporary stay (1.1) under the law on immigration, but not as a tourist or in transit; 2.2.2. Not being disqualified or prohibited under the conditions prescribed by the Minister as published in the Government Gazette.

Source: Office of Foreign Workers Administration, Thailand.

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Glossary
Phonetic Thai
Kwarm-Kao-Jai-ReungChaii-Dan Chaii-Dan Poo-Op-Pa-Yop Naii-Naa Garn-Op-Pa-Yop-KaoMuang-Yang-Pid-Kod-Maii Raeng-Ngan-Op-Pa-YopChao-Shan Garn-Op-Pa-Yop-KhongMa-Nud Kwarm-Man-Kong-HaengMa-Nud Garn-Tang-Taup-TanDuay-Kwarm-Jam-Yorm Sa-Pa-Wa-Tee-Dee-Kuen Kwarm-Mai-Man-KongDarn-Chee-Wit Kwarm-Mai-Man-KongDarn-Sang-Kom Garn-Aow-Praep Chaii-Dan-Sueng-MongMai-Haen Sang-Kom-Sueng-RaiKob-Kaet-Chaii-Dan Goom-Chart-Ti-Pan Moon-La-Ka-Perm-JakRaeng-Ngan-Op-Pa-Yop

Thai alphabet

English Translation
Perceptions of Borders Borders Migrant workers Informal brokers Illegal migration Shan migrant workers Human Migration Human Security Acquiescent reciprocity Betterment Life instability Social insecurity exploitation Invisible border Borderless world Ethnic minority Migrant value-added

ความเข้าใจเรื่ องชายแดน ชายแดน ผูอพยพ ้ นายหน้า (ผิดกฎหมาย) ่ การอพยพเข้าเมืองอยาง ผิดกฎหมาย แรงงานอพยพชาวฉาน การอพยพของมนุษย์ ่ ความมันคงแหงมนุษย์ ่ ่ การตางตอบแทนด้วยความ จํายอม สภาวะที่ดีขึน ่ ่ ความไมมันคงด้านชีวต ิ ่ ่ ความไมมันคงด้านสังคม การเอาเปรี ยบ ่ ชายแดนซึ่งมองไมเห็น สังคมซึ่ งไร้ขอบเขตชายแดน กลุ่มชาติพนธุ์ ั ่ ่ มูลคาเพิมจากแรงงานอพยพ

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PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION

Phonetic Thai
Tak-Sa Kob-Kaii-Khong-God-MaiiDarn-Garn-Op-Pa-Yop Garn-Pra-Muen-Pol-DaiPol-Sae Jin-Ta-Na-Garn-Garn-MeeYoo-khong-Chaii-Dan Puet-Ti-Gam-Garn-Op-PaYop

Thai alphabet

English Translation
Skills Migration Legal Framework Cost-benefit assessment Imagination of Borders Behavior in Migration

ทักษะ ่ ขอบขายของกฎหมายด้าน การอพยพ การประเมินผลได้-ผลเสี ย ่ จินตนาการการมีอยูของ ชายแดน พฤติกรรมการอพยพ

76

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Punpuing, Sureeporn et al., Migrant Domestic Workers, from Burma to Thailand, published in Nakhon Pathom, Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University, 2004, also presented at the IUSSP XXV International Population Conference, Tours (France), 18-23 July 2005 Research Institute of Asian Migration, Needs Assessment of Host Communities in Burmese Border Refugee Camp Area: Tasongyang and Pobpra District, Tak Province, Bangkok, Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University, 2003 Sai Aung Tun, “The Tai Ethnic Migration and Settlement in Myanmar” in Hayashi, Yukiko and Yang, Guangyuan (eds.), Dynamics of Ethnic Cultures Across National Boundaries in Southwestern China and Mainland Southeast Asia: Relations, Societies, and Languages, Lanna Cultural Center, Rajabhat Chiang Mai, Thailand and Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, Japan, 2000, pp.14-34. Sargent, Inge, Twilight over Burma: My Life as a Shan Princess, Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 1994 Schliesinger, Joachim, Tai Groups of Thailand, Bangkok, White Lotus Press, 2001, pp.144-151 Seekins, Donald M., Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar), Lanham MD, Scarecrow Press, 2006 Seekins, Donald M., The Disorder in Order: The Army-State in Burma since 1962, Bangkok, White Lotus, 2002 Sen, Amartya, Commodities and Capabilities, New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 1999 Silverstein, Josef, Burmese politics: the dilemma of national unity, New Brunswick NJ, Rutgers University Press, 1980 Stringer, Ernest, Action Research: A Handbook for Practitioners, Thousand Oaks CA, Sage, p.15 Trichot, Pornpimon, A Journey of Ethnic Minority, Institute of Asian Studies, Bangkok, Chulalongkorn University, 2005.

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Trichot, Pornpimon, The Burmese Government and the Ethnic Minority Groups [In Thai], Bangkok, The Thailand Research Fund and The Foundation for The Promotion of Social Sciences and Humanities Textbooks Project, 1999, pp.51-90. UNDP, Human Development Report, New Dimensions of Human Security, United Nations Development Programme, 1994 United Nations (ESCAP: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific), Ten as One: Challenges and Opportunities for ASEAN Integration, Bangkok, 2007 Winichakul, Thongchai, Siam Mapped: A History of the Geo-Body of a Nation, Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 1997. Wongboonsin, Patcharawalai, Human Security and Transnational Migration: The Case in Thailand, The 21st Century Centre of Excellence Programme “Policy Innovation Initiative: Human Security Research in Japan and Asia”, Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University, Japan, 2004 World Health Organization, Adolescent Migrants in the Greater Mekong Sub-region: Are they equipped to protect themselves against sexual and reproductive health risks, WHO, 2007 Younghusband, G.J. and Wyatt, David K., The Trans-Salween Shan State of Kiang Tung, Chiang Mai, Silkworm Books, 2005

Conference Papers
Chantavanich, Supang, 2006, paper presented at the 2007 Conference on “International Migration, Multi-local Livelihoods and Human Security: Perspectives from Europe, Asia and Africa.” at the Institute of Social Studies, the Hague, 29-30 August 2007 Kusakabe, Kyoko and Pearson, Ruth, 2008, “Border industrialization and labour mobility: A case of Burmese migrant workers in border area factories”, presented at the 10th International Conference on Thai Studies, Bangkok, Thailand, 9-11 January 2008 Winston Set Aung, “Regional Policy Formulation Meeting on Migration in GMS: The Time to Turn Irregular into Regular Migrants”
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Newspapers
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Journal articles from database
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Internet articles
Bureau of the Budget of Thailand, Thai National Budget for the year 2008 in Brief, DRAWER29, CABBBIWEBFORM, FILEROOM <http://www.bb.go.th/FILEROOM/CABBBIWEBFORM/DRAWER 29/GENERAL/DATA0000/00000033.PDF>, retrieved 25 December 2008 Iijima, Akiko, An Oral History Approach to a Sawbwa Family's Strategy: Research Notes for a Short History of Hsenwi (<Special Issue>Ecological Resource Use and Social Change in the Minority Regions of Myanmar), Center for Southeast Asian Studies of Kyoto University, Vol.45, No.3, 2007, p.450 ,
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<http://repository.kulib.kyotou.ac.jp/dspace/handle/2433/56804>, retrieved 31 December 2008 Kerdmongkol, Adisorn and Karnjanadit, Bussayarat, Burmese Migrant Workers and Violence, midnight2545, 2002, <http://www.midnightuniv.org/midnight2545/document9652.html > [in Thai] , retrieved 5 December 2008 Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board, Gross Provincial Product at Current Market Prices by Economic Activities: 20012005, <http://chiangrai.nso.go.th/nso/project/search/result_by_departm ent.jsp>, retrieved 10 November 2008 United Nations, A Summary of United Nations Agreements on Human Rights, <http://www.hrweb.org/legal/undocs.html>, retrieved 5 December 2008,

Websites
Asia Development Research Institute, <www.asiadevelopment.org> Chiang Mai Employment Office, <www.cmemployment.org/> Chiang Mai Provincial Office of Labor and Social Welfare, <http://chiangmai.mol.go.th/> Chiang Mai Province Website, <www.chiangmai.go.th> Chiang Rai Statistic Office <http://chiangrai.nso.go.th/main.jsp> MAP (Migrant Assistance Program) Foundation <www.mapfoundationcm.org/eng/top/index.html> Office of Foreign Workers Administration, Thailand <http://122.154.5.7/workpermit/index.html> SWAN (Shan Women’s Action Network) <http://www.shanwomen.org/> The China Inland Mission and Overseas Missionary Fellowship <http://www.omf.org/omf/us/about_omf>

84

Publications de l’Irasec
Études régionales Asie du Sud-Est
L’Islamisme combattant en Asie du Sud-Est par Philippe Migaux Présence économique européenne en Asie du Sud-Est, sous la direction de Guy Faure et David Hoyrup Le destin des fils du dragon, l’influence de la communauté chinoise au Viêt Nam et en Thaïlande, par Arnaud Leveau Des montagnards aux minorités ethniques, quelle intégration nationale pour les habitants des hautes terres du Viêt Nam et du Cambodge, par Stan Tan Boon Hwee, Nguyen Van Chinh, Andrew Hardy, Mathieu Guérin Pavillon Noir sur l’Asie du Sud-Est, histoire d’une résurgence de la piraterie maritime en Asie du Sud-Est, par Eric Frécon The Resurgence of Sea Piracy in Southeast Asia, Occasional Paper by Eric Frecon Yaa Baa, production, trafic et consommation de méthamphétamine en Asie du Sud-Est continentale par Joël Meissonnier et Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy Yaa Baa, Production, Traffic and Consumption of methamphetamine in Mainland Southeast Asia by Joël Meissonnier and Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy Armée du peuple, armée du roi, les militaires face à la société en Indonésie et en Thaïlande par Nicolas Révisse et Arnaud Dubus Les messagers divins, aspects esthétiques et symboliques des oiseaux en Asie du Sud-Est, sous la direction de Pierre Le Roux et Bernard Sellato Réfléchir l’Asie du Sud-Est, essai d’épistémologie sous la direction de Stéphane Dovert Outre-Terre, Asies, tiers du monde (revue) Les musulmans d’Asie du Sud-Est face au vertige de la radicalisation sous la direction de Stéphane Dovert et de Rémy Madinier Asie du Sud-Est 2007, par la revue Focus Asie du Sud-Est Asie du Sud-Est 2008, par la revue Focus Asie du Sud-Est Asie du Sud-Est 2009, sous la direction d’Arnaud Leveau Mekong–Ganga Initiative, Occasional Paper par Swaran Singh Investigating the Grey Areas of the Chinese communities in Southeast Asia, Occasional Paper sous la direction d’Arnaud Leveau

L’impact des catastrophes naturelles sur la résolution des conflits en Asie. Les cas du Sri Lanka, de l’Indonésie et du Cachemire, note de Clarisse Hervet Anti-Trafficking Regional Cooperation in Southeast Asia and the Global Linkages from Geopolitical Perspectives, note d’Anne-Lise Sauterey Des catastrophes naturelles au désastre humain, conséquences et enjeux de l’aide humanitaire après le tsunami et le cyclone Nargis en Thaïlande et en Birmanie, Occasional Paper par Maxime Boutry & Olivier Ferrari

Brunei
Brunei, les métamorphoses d’un Etat-réseau, par Marie Sybille de Vienne (à paraître en 2010)

Birmanie
Birmanie contemporaine, monographie nationale, sous la direction de Gabriel Defert Back to Old Habits, Isolationism ot the Self-Preservation of Burma’s Military Regime, Occasional Paper par Renaud Egreteau and Larry Jagan

Cambodge
Cambodge contemporain, monographie nationale, sous la direction d’Alain Forest Le dictionnaire des Khmers rouges, par Solomon Kane Cambodge soir, chroniques sociales d’un pays au quotidien, sous la direction de Grégoire Rochigneux

Indonésie
La fin de l’innocence, l’islam indonésien face à la tentation radicale de 1967 à nos jours, par Rémy Madinier et Andrée Feillard Les relations centre périphérie en Indonésie, note de Lucas Patriat Aceh : l’histoire inachavée. La fière histoire d’une terre dévastée par les tsunami par Voka Miladinovic et Jean-Claude Pomonti (bilingue / Bilingual : Français / English)

Laos
Le Laos au XXI siècle, les defies de l’intégration régionale, par Vatthana Pholsena & Ruth Banomyong Laos, From Buffer State to Crossroads, par Vatthana Pholsena & Ruth Banomyong

Malaisie
Economie de la Malaisie, par Elsa Lafaye de Michaux (à paraître en 2009)

Philippines
Elites et développement aux Philippines : un pari perdu ? par Cristina JimenzeHallare, Roberto Galang et Stéphane Auvray La Croix et le Kriss, violences et rancoeurs entre chrétiens et musulmans dans le sud des Philippines, par Solomon Kane et Felice Noelle Rodriguez

Singapour
A roof Overt Every Head, par Wong Tai-Chee and Xavier Guillot The Hegemony of an Idea: The Sources of the SAF’s Fascination with Technology and the Revolution in Military Affairs, note de Ho Shu Huang

Thaïlande
Thaïlande contemporaine, monographie nationale sous la direction de Stéphane Dovert Les musulmans de Thaïlande, par Michel Gilquin The Muslims of Thailand, par Michel Gilquin (in English) Thaïlande : ressources documentaires françaises, par Laurent Hennequin Bangkok, formes du commerce et évolutions urbaines, par Davisi Boontharm State and Media in Thailand During Political Crisis, Occasional Paper sous la direction d’Arnaud Leveau et Chavarong Limpattamapanee Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation into Southern Thailand, Occasional Paper par Patacharawalai Wongboonsin (Eds)

Femmes prostituées dans la region du sud de la Thaïlande, Occasional Paper par Jean Baffie Education, Economy and Identity - Ten Years of Educational Reform in Thailand, Occasional Paper par Audrey Baron-Gutty et Supat Chupradit (Eds.)

Timor-Leste
Timor Lorosa’e, Pays Carrefour de l’Asie et du Pacifique. Un atlas géohistorique, par Frédéric Durand Timor Lorosa’e, A Country at the Crossroads of Asia and the Pacific, a GeoHistorical Atlas par Frédéric Durand Catholicisme et protestantisme dans l’île de Timor : 1556-2003. Construction d’une identité chrétienne et engagement politique contemporain, par Frédéric Durand Timor : 1250-2005, 750 de cartographie et de voyages, par Frédéric Durand Timor-Leste en quête de repères, perspectives économico-politiques et intégration régionale, par Frédéric Durand East-Timor, How to Build a New Nation in Southeast Asia in the 21st Century? sous la direction de Christine Cabasset-Semedo & Frédéric Durand Timor-Leste, The Dragon’s Newest Friend, note de Loro Horta

Viêt Nam
Viêt Nam contemporain, monographie nationale, sous la direction de Stéphane Dovert et Benoît de Tréglodé (réédition révisée en 2009) Japon-Viêt Nam, histoire d’une relation sous influences, par Guy Faure et Laurent Schwab Japan-Viêt Nam, history of a relationship under influences par Guy Faure and Laurent Schwab Agriculture, environnement et sociétés sur les hautes terres du Viêt Nam, par Frédéric Fortunel, Frédéric Durand, Rodolphe de Konnick