BANGKOK - Some 83 per cent of Myanmar migrant workers working in the northern provinces plan to return and live permanently in Myanmar, according to a survey by Myanmar Study Centre.
The study conducted in Chiang Mai, offers insights into the opinions of young migrants on the evolving situation in their country since the democratisation process started in 2011, as well as several other issues affecting the country.
The poll of over 100 respondents indicated a strong desire to return to their home country soon. However, many feared it was not be safe for them to go back now, and even more were reluctant to say things have meaningfully improved in Myanmar since the 2010 election.
The multi-lingual, anonymous observational survey of migrants living and working in the North was carried out in March and April. Some 94 per cent of respondents said they come from Shan State.
The results, revealed by Burma Study Center News, show that most migrants plan to return to their homes within the next three-four years. But many said they were unsure and the timing would depend on the situation in their homeland as a whole than on personal circumstances.
Several migrant students said they were keen to "get more knowledge" and "finish my education" before returning to Myanmar.
A follow-up qualitative question inquired what the young migrants view as the most important issue that they would like to see to change before they return. Nearly 20 per noted the low level of development, and 16.6 per cent said lack of peace and/or freedom; 14 per cent said they would like the education system to be improved, while 11 per cent said prevalence of drug use and trafficking had to be reduced; a better economy, public health, and politics were also sought.
Asked if the situation in Myanmar had improved since the 2010 election, 75 per cent) said only slightly or not at all, while 22 per cent felt there had been moderate improvement and 3 per cent said a lot of improvement.
Asked if the situation in their home areahad improved since 2010, 55.5 per cent said not at all and 25 per cent only slightly. The migrants were split nearly equally when asked if they thought they would be safe to return now. However, despite this and a general perception that not much has improved, 55.5 per cent believed they would be happier in Myanmar.
About 50 per cent are confident or very confident that reforms would continue and the situation in the country would improve over time.