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Shocking New Policy: Myanmar’s Military Government Squeezes Out Wealth from Overseas Workers – A Financial Nightmare Revealed!

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The bustling Ministry of Labour in Tak mirrors a typical day at work as it becomes a convergence point for Myanmar workers who have successfully secured visas. The workers are required to undergo a hands-on training session, providing essential knowledge about the workforce in Thailand before they can finally get their hands on their much-anticipated work permits.

However, an unsettling wave has swept through the Myanmar expatriate community. According to recent local reports, the military government of Myanmar is enforcing a new rule, pressuring these overseas workers to send back a minimum of 25% of their income earned in foreign currency via the country’s banking system.

The Irrawaddy, an independent Myanmar news agency, revealed that the remittances from the workers get converted to the local currency, Kyat, albeit at a significantly lower official rate, which deviates by 40% from the commonly used market value.

In essence, the institutions affiliated with the government will find a low-cost funding source at their disposal. This will aid the junta in consolidating their precarious economic state. This scenario displays massive implications for the approximately 2 million legally employed Myanmar citizens in Thailand, and their families back home.

According to the regulations implemented from the first day of September onwards, those who are due to leave Myanmar for an overseas job are obligated to co-sign for a bank account at an institution regulated by the Myanmar Central Bank. They must commit to sending a quarter of their earnings to this account.

CB Bank, ranking among Myanmar’s largest private banking establishments, has notified its migrant worker clientele to remit 25% of their salaries either monthly or quarterly through “official” methods.

The junta has recommended an exchange rate of 56 Kyats against the Thai Baht. However, the current market rate floats around 100 per Baht, as noted by The Irrawaddy. According to the statistics, a worker earning 20,000 Baht will have to send back 5,000 Baht through the designated banking channel. The bank will receive 5,000 Baht, which translates to only 280,000 Kyats, while the implied value by unlicensed exchange methodologies goes up to a whopping 500,000 Kyats.

Existing workers abroad failing to comply with the newly imposed rule will face a three year sanction from working abroad once their present work permit expires. Recruitment organizations have been urged to revise their contracts with these overseas workers, additionally taking responsibility for transferring the enforced 25% remittances through the Myanmar banking platform.

The government is extending certain incentives, promising potential tax-free opportunities to invest and purchase property in Myanmar, provided the workers remit their income through officially recognized banking services or financial institutions endorsed by the central bank.

Acceptance of this requirement hasn’t been entirely positive. Among the critics, Ko Nay Lin Thu from the Aid Alliance Committee, based in Thailand, directly provides assistance to migrant workers. He stated his disapproval to The Irrawaddy, “We reject contributing our hard-earned money to them. As we already pay tax on our income in Thailand, this new rule enforcing additional cuts on our remittances is unacceptable. It feels like a clear exploit of us — the migrant workers.”

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