From June 2018 until May 2019 DTM-Thailand set up a Flow Monitoring exercise, observing the migration movements between Thailand and Myanmar at various Flow Monitoring Points (FMPs) in Tak province. While migration movements from Myanmar to Thailand, especially for the purpose of employment is no new phenomenon, there remains a dearth of reliable data that can be applied for the development of evidence-based policy and better IOM programming. The districts of Mae Sot and Phob Phra in Tak province, Thailand are only separated from Myawaddy district in Kayin State, Myanmar by the shallow “Moei River”, making the crossing between the two countries relatively easy and hard to control for authorities. The counting activity at four unofficial border crossing points will therefore function as a complementary tool to gather primary data about the extent and nature of daily cross border movements. In addition to the FMP data, DTM-Thailand also rolled out Flow Monitoring Surveys (FMS) at various locations in and around Mae Sot and Phob Phra district for a period of six months. The FMS data provides in-depth information on Myanmar migrants’ profile, their decision-making process and migration drivers, arrangements and preparations pre-migration as well as vulnerabilities associated with their journey and employment experiences in Thailand. For a duration of one year DTM-Thailand produced monthly infographics providing information on the volume, transportation mode, direction, gender and purpose of crossing at the unofficial border points. Furthermore, three rounds of survey results collected under the FMS are publicly available, covering the data collection period from mid-June to mid-December 2018.
In light of the recent outbreak of COVID-19 in Thailand, migrants and non-Thai populations, irrespective of their legal status, face a new set of challenges and vulnerabilities.
From mid-January to mid-March 2020, a total of 2,013 Myanmar nationals were surveyed in the province of Ranong, of whom 1,962 were identified as migrant workers. The 1,962 migrant workers fell into two different migrant groups.