abusesaffiliationarrow-downarrow-leftarrow-rightarrow-upattack-typeburgerchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-upClock iconclosedeletedevelopment-povertydiscriminationdollardownloademailenvironmentexternal-linkfacebookfiltergenderglobegroupshealthC4067174-3DD9-4B9E-AD64-284FDAAE6338@1xinformation-outlineinformationinstagraminvestment-trade-globalisationissueslabourlanguagesShapeCombined Shapeline, chart, up, arrow, graphLinkedInlocationmap-pinminusnewsorganisationotheroverviewpluspreviewArtboard 185profilerefreshIconnewssearchsecurityPathStock downStock steadyStock uptagticktooltiptwitteruniversalityweb

22 Sep 2023

Frontier Myanmar

Myanmar: Overseas workers in some Asian & Gulf countries subject to remittance squeeze by military rule

"'We don't have a choice': Junta puts the squeeze on overseas workers,"


It also provides a basic but regular source of income for migrants and their families back home in Myanmar, where the economy has cratered since the military takeover.

Those financial lifelines depend on workers like Min Aung using the centuries-old informal hundi system of money exchange that uses networks of friends, acquaintances and business associates. The hundi system works with the black market exchange rate, which is far more favourable than the official exchange rate, as the kyat has depreciated significantly since the coup.

Desperate for hard currency to fund its war machine, the regime is now trying to access that untapped source of revenue, but some warn it will only result in more migrant workers being undocumented and vulnerable to abuse.

The junta has ordered that, from September 1, workers abroad must begin transferring 25 percent of their salaries back to Myanmar through the formal banking system, where the regime can take its cut.

Workers like Min Aung will have to pay higher bank charges and a fee to the regime. Moreover, he will get far fewer kyat for his hard-earned Thai baht. Banks must use an exchange rate set by the Central Bank of Myanmar for remittances, of K83 per Thai baht, instead of the black market rate of K100...