Background to the Project
In January 2016, ADRA Thailand started a 36-month Project entitled Enhanced Capacities for Migrant Advocacy (ECMA) funded by the European Union that aimed at strengthening and empowering marginalized and vulnerable migrant workers in Mae Sot, Thailand. The project targets 3,750 migrant factory workers in Mae Sot, Thailand.
Thailand’s rapid economic growth in the past few decades has created a high demand for low-skilled and low-cost labour, attracting a large number of migrant workers from the three neighbouring countries, namely Myanmar, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and Cambodia, to fill the gap of labor shortage. An estimated 3 million migrant workers from these three countries hold either regular or irregular status in Thailand . As located in a bordering province – Tak, Mae Sot has eventually become a transit and destination of Myanmar migrants because of its high concentration of factories. According to statistics from the Tak Provincial Office, there were 27,059 Myanmar migrant workers registered at the Mae Sot District’s One Stop Service Center during the migrant registration process in 2015. Migrant workers are employed in factories in textiles, garments, food processing and ceramics. The majority of migrant workers are from Myanmar, with Burmese representing the largest ethnic group, along with other ethnic groups such as Karen, Mon and Arakanese.
The major problems facing Burmese migrant workers include: i) lack of awareness about their rights due to language barriers and accessibility to information. Importantly, a limited human resources of the local Labour Protection and Welfare Office compares to a large migrant population in the area; ii.) factory owners do not follow Thai labour law by registering their factories, leading migrant workers to become vulnerable in terms of working in unsafe, unhygienic conditions; iii) a major health concerns of migrant workers included skeletal or muscular illnesses due to heavy workloads and poor occupational health and safety standards; iv) lack of capacity of CSOs to engage in the dialogue process, at national level – little effective coordination, limited resources and travel restrictions, which are among major factors that limit the ability of CSOs to engage directly and actively in policy advocacy dialogue; and v) poor living and unhealthy conditions since migrants are often housed in overcrowded accommodation with inadequate facilities; some factories restrict their workers to the factory premises giving them no opportunity to find other accommodation.
In 2017, the ECMA project provided a series of training specifically focusing on OSH laws including legal processes and labour rights for 165 factory migrant workers, construction workers, and CSO volunteers, among which around 50 trainees formed a paralegal alumni group.
They launched a facebook page as a platform for sharing updates on law and policies affecting migrants and to provide real accounts of ‘on the ground’ migrant situations. The trained paralegals were expected to assist migrant workers access basis services and the justice system through the existing referral networks. A general lack of knowledge on legal processes in combination with language barriers and the irregular status amongst migrant workers were noted as some of the key factors obstructing access to legal protection. Having a group of a trained and invested paralegals can be seen as a sustainable solution for long-term migrant rights advocacy and assistance.
In March 2020, ADRA Thailand and HRDF as co-applicant started a 36-month project entitled CSO Development for the Promotion and Advancement of Migrant Rights (CSO DPAMR) Project funded by the European Union, which targets 2,500 migrant workers in Mae Sot, Thailand.
The proposed action is developed based on results of the ECMA project funded by the EU, where ECMA final evaluation found that the paralegal alumni group needs further technical support and strengthening while serving as focal/referral points of migrants in the community. Based on the recommendation from the final evaluation, the proposed new activitiy aims at strengthening and increasing knowledge as well as providing needed skills for the trained paralegal alumni group to enable them to perform their roles more effectively. A rapid need assessment will be carried out among the alumni to identify specific skills and themes where capacity or knowledge need to be developed or strengthened.
Unsafe and unfair working conditions are key problems faced by migrant workers. The results of legal assistance and counseling program provided to migrant workers in Mae Sot during the ECMA project revealed that a majority of migrants seeking assistance struggled with unfair labour practices, such as dismissal, unpaid wages or underpaid wages, especially wage discrimination based on gender which is still a frequent and widespread practice among factory migrant workers.
It is envisaged that these identified problems will be tackled through the “CSO Development for the Promotion and Advancement of Migrant Rights (CSO DPAMR)” project. The stated objective will be achieved by three expected results described below:
Result 1: Improved awareness of and adherence to labour laws among target employers and migrant workers
Result 2: Enhanced CSO capacity to engage in policy dialogue platforms and networks for migrant rights and
Result 3: Strengthened collaboration between CSOs, local authorities, and private sector to bring about improved labour/human rights for migrant workers
The individual consultant or the consultant team will undertake the following activity that proposed by the project under Objective:
- To document experiences of migrant workers’ in accessing legal aid and recourse
- To document experiences of practioners in providing lega laid to migrant workers
- To document gaps, challenges, good practices and lessons learned in seeking recourse (from the perspective of migrant worker) and handling labour-related grievances of migrant workers (from the perspective of legal practitioners), particularly in the context of Mae Sot.
- Translation of a case study handbook from Thai to Burmese, art work and publication do not include in this consultancy.
Scope of Work for the Consultant
The individual consultant or the consulting team will cover the following task:
- To carry out primary research collaboratively with HRDF/LLC Mae Sot team (for translation during the interviews, surveys, questionnaires, focus group discussions etc.
- Context and eco-social environment of Mae Sot
- Flowcharts of relevant grievance settlement proceedings i.e Labour Tribunal Procedures
- Examination of four selected cases : (1) case of complain machainsim on the unfair labour practices, (2) case of work-related accidents and (3) case of confisicated of migrant workers (e.g. deception, contract substitution) (4) collective bargaining case
- Description and analysis of the cases that contains challenges, good practice and lessons-learned.
- The study should be based on a combination of desk reviews of existing case documents and interviews with relevant stakeholders.
- The study should be based on document review which related to the law and policy.
Timeframe and duration of the consultancy
A case study handbook research consultancy is to be carried out from June 2021 to December 2021. This timeframe covers achievable process of:
- Design and draft an outline of the study for review by HRDF
- Conduct a desk review and interviews with relevant stakeholders
- Submit a draft report in Thai addressing all areas outline in this Terms of Reference
- Submit a revised version of the report reflecting comments from HRDF and key stakeholders
Background of the Consultant
- At least 5 years’ experience in development field, particularly in labor law or human rights areas
- Concrete knowledge on migrant issues in greater Mae Sot
- Experience in working with migrant communities would be beneficial
- Demonstrated creativity and flexibility of approaches towards organizational needs and/or challenges
- Experience in qualitative analysis methodology and participatory approach
- Evidence of producing clear and concise reports with high quality
- Able to collaborate with HRDF/LLC and project partners to provide mentoring support after the production of a case study handbook
- Must be able to speak, read and write Thai
- Considering travel restrictions related to COVID-19 control, local consultants living in Thailand are preferred
Submission of Application
- Applications should be submitted no later than 20 May 2021
- Applications in the English or Thai language, including
- a resume of not more than 3 pages;
- a cover letter;
- a brief proposal to describe how this research consultancy will be carried out not more than 1 page;
- contact details of 2 references should be submitted by email to email@example.com and cc firstname.lastname@example.org
- Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
 Thailand Migration Report 2014, International Organization for Migration (IOM).