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Migrants are stealing jobs from Thais: Immigration police

Migrants are stealing jobs from Thais: Immigration policeThailand is cracking down on migrant workers from neighboring countries, Reuters reported on Thursday.

In an operation led by the Thai labor department, police and troops on Wednesday raided a fresh produce market in Bangkok and arrested 14 people, most of them from neighboring Myanmar.

"We have received many complaints about illegal immigrants working in markets including Vietnamese and even South Asians who were stealing jobs from Thais," Thai immigration police chief Nathorn Phrosunthorn told Reuters.

"They should be doing the jobs that Thais don't want to do like work as house cleaners," he said.

Under the terms of a 2015 memorandum of understanding Vietnamese citizens are restricted in their employment in Thailand and can work only as manual laborers in Thailand's fishing or construction sectors.

Cambodians also have been nabbed in the raids, along with people from Myanmar and Vietnam.

Nathorn said the crackdown was not driven by an anti-immigrant policy. "We still need migrant labor. We just want to keep some order," he said.

More than 3 million migrants work in Thailand, the vast majority from neighboring Myanmar, according to the International Organization for Migration.

"There seems to be a surge of national sentiment in Thai immigration policy claiming migrants from Vietnam, for example, are taking jobs that are reserved for Thai nationals. We haven't seen this kind of rise in anti-immigrant sentiment for decades. This has a lot to do economic concerns," Sunai Phasuk from Human Rights Watch told Reuters.
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