Myanmar bans men from applying to work abroad

Yangon (Myanmar): Myanmar’s military government has announced it has stopped issuing overseas work permits to men, weeks after introducing a conscription law that resulted in thousands of people attempting to flee the country.

The junta, which is struggling to quell widespread insurgency against the junta, announced in February it would implement a law allowing all men to be conscripted for at least two years.

Media reports said the move led to thousands of people queuing for visas outside foreign embassies in Yangon, while others entered neighboring Thailand to evade the law.

The Labor Ministry announced in a statement posted by the junta’s intelligence team late Thursday that it has “temporarily suspended” accepting applications from men who want to work abroad.

The move was necessary because “extra time is needed to verify immigration procedures and other issues,” he said, without providing further details.

More than 4 million Myanmar people were working abroad in 2020, the International Labor Organization estimated, citing government figures at the time.

Analysts say more work is being done overseas off the books.

The military service law was drafted by the previous military government in 2010, but was never implemented.

This allows the military to summon all men between the ages of 18 and 35 and women between the ages of 18 and 27 to serve in the military for at least two years.

The law also provides that prison terms can be extended by up to five years during a state of emergency, and those who ignore a summons to serve can be sentenced to the same amount of time in prison.

Myanmar’s military junta announced a state of emergency when it took power in 2021, and the military recently extended it for another six months.

According to a pro-military Telegram account, the first batch of several thousand new recruits has already begun training under the law.

A junta spokesman said the law was necessary “due to the situation in our country” fighting both the so-called People’s Defense Forces and long-standing armed groups belonging to ethnic minorities.

He said the military only has the capacity to train 50,000 people a year, but about 13 million people are eligible for call-up. –AFP

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