Official remittance licences now available for migrant workers

Workers are now able to apply for official remittance licences to transfer money between Myanmar and other countries, according to the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM).

The move, which commenced on November 15, is aimed at facilitating money transfers to Myanmar by migrant workers based overseas.

A deposit of K100 million is required to apply for the licence. Overseas employment agencies are expected to apply.

The monthly remittance limit is US$5000 for each worker and US$1000 is allowed per transfer, according to the CBM.

More than 10,000 workers from Myanmar go abroad to work on monthly basis, especially to Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore as well as Japan, Korea and Macau, according to overseas employment agencies.

There are currently more than five million migrant workers based overseas and most send money back to their families in Myanmar through illegal money transfer brokers, resulting in a loss of revenue for the country, employment agencies said.

As such, the licences will also provide an official means of recording the amount of money being transferred into the country.

U Myat Thu, secretary of the Myanmar Overseas Employment Agencies Federation, explained that “currently, the unofficial “Hundi” system is used to facilitate international money transfers and there is no guarantee the funds will be safe. If Myanmar workers use banks to transfer funds, it is very good for workers,” he said.

While official Myanmar migrant workers can remit money through their employment agencies, illegal migrant workers can only remit money via illegal Hundis, who rely on a vast network of traders in different countries to bring the money into the country. Now, Myanmar migrant workers can easily remit money on a monthly basis through money transfer agents and banks p near workshops and factories in the various countries they are wokring and it only takes one day to settle the transaction.

Foreign currency can be transferred through the banks, which will charge a fee to handle conversions based on the exchange rate.

However, illegal migrant workers continue have to transfer through brokers and pay higher charges than the bank rates but at an exchange rate lower than the market value, said Ma San San Htwe, who is working in Kuala Lumpur.

“Illegal workers are not safe here. They may get arrested when they go to transfer money and are also exploited by the Hundis. If brokers take our money and run, there is no help as we can’t report it to the police. There is no problem for official migrant workers,” she said. – Translated

Source:Myanmar Times

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