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Mizzima: Burma junta tries hard to (r)

Burma junta tries hard to get foreign currency, imposes new regulations

February 26, 2000
Mizzima News Group

The Burmese junta has, on February 23, established regulations for the
persons who are seeking job and who wants to work abroad. The new labor
regulations were announced and published in the government-controlled
daily paper, "Myama Allin" (New Light of Myanmar) on February 24.

These rules and regulations indicate that the Burmese government, in
future, will tightly handle the matter concerning the persons who want
to work in abroad.

As per the prescribed restrictions, the persons who wish to work abroad
are to submit their applications with necessary documents to the
authorities-concerned. They have to show their work permits, IPA or Call
Visa and other valid documents including the original appointment
letters recommended by the Burmese Embassies in the respective
countries. In case there is no Burmese Embassy in that particular
country, they are to show the recommendations of a Notary Public of that
country on the original appointment letters.

They also have to take their parents or guardians along with two
guarantees before the offices concerned (of the Directorate of Labor
Department) for signing the agreement that they must regularly remit the
10% of their income annually to the Burmese Embassy and 50% of their
monthly salaries to their families in Burma in foreign currency through
Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank. Besides, they are to pay FEC (Foreign
Exchange Currency) 200 as a non-refundable payment to the directorate of
the labor department.

In the past, the Burmese citizens who wish to work abroad needed to
submit their applications with the original appointment letters received
by post from their employers in the respective countries to get
passports and they were to pay the bond-money which is mostly Kyats
17,000 with respect to the countries they are going to work. And they
did not need to send 50% of their income to their families. Still, they
had to bribe the officers at the passport office with a lot of money and
faced troubles to get the passports.

A Burmese worker who came to India in 1998 said: "It was very difficult
to get a passport. It took almost a year for a person to get a suitable
and reliable contact after inquiring the information of the said
contact. One must give him (the contact) Kyats 25,000 per male and Kyats
75,000 per female for his services. After waiting about four months one
will get his passport and after getting his passport he will have to go
to the township income tax office to get the income-tax clearance
certificate, that is form "17" by giving the officer of the respective
township income-tax office Kyats 3,000 and then, he will have to go to
the Divisional Income tax office and pay 15,000 Kyats to get the form
"19" which is also the income tax clearance certificate. After having
this form "19", he will have to go to the bank referred by the latter
office to deposit Kyats 5,000 as a guaranty. This guaranteed money could
be withdrawn from the bank after returning to Burma. Finally, one will
have to go to the Directorate of Immigration Department to get the
departure form by giving the officer concerned Kyats 1,000. Having
received all these documents from the respective officer, one must go to
the Embassy concerned to get visa and then, he will have to buy air
ticket and finally, he will prepare to leave Burma. So, one must spend
round about 1.2 lakhs Kyats for the whole affairs of his purpose. Air
fare is not included in the amount yet."

He further said that as the Burmese government has made these
regulations, the persons who want to work abroad have to spend more
money in future by bribing authorities concerned to get passport and
permission. "Because of the new restrictions of the Burmese government,
there must be more expenditure for the persons who wish to work abroad
than ever before. If they are to send 50% of their salaries to their
parents or relatives monthly, they will have no money left with them for
their meals. These regulations of the government seem to aim getting
more foreign currencies from the Burmese workers in abroad", said the