Burmese newspapers report Thursday that only 80,000 of the estimated 300,000 Burmese working across the border hold labor permits issued by the Thai government.
The reports are a rare admission by Burma's military-run government that thousands of its citizens are working illegally abroad. Rights groups say the number could be closer to a million.
Burmese fill a wide range of jobs in Thailand's fisheries, manufacturing, construction, hotel and restaurant industries.
Human Rights Watch says many migrants suffer rights abuses abroad because their employers threaten to deport them if they complain about poor conditions, such as long hours, forced confinement, and even physical or sexual abuse.
Information for this report is provided by Reuters.