Category Archives: Migration Policy in Thailand

Employment centers opened in Tak, Sa Kaeo, Nong Khai serving immigrants

The Department of Employment (DOE) has opened employment centers in Tak, Sa Kaeo, and Nong Khai provinces to serve migrant workers in the area, in an effort to prevent and tackle human trafficking issues, according to DOE Director-General Arrug Phrommanee.

The DOE chief said the department has opened three employment centers in Tak, Sa Kaeo and Nong Khai, in keeping with the Cabinet’s resolution to provide employment services and hire migrant workers. The centers will also seek to address the workers on important information regarding employment in Thailand.

The centers provide training courses and orientation for immigrant workers looking for knowledge about their employment contract and their benefits when returning to their home country. The centers help employees and employers to ensure that the actual work is relevant to their employment contract. These efforts and services will help prevent and solve ongoing human trafficking issues and protect the foreign workers.

Thai employers can only employ migrant workers in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding that was agreed on. 284,405 workers have submitted their request to work in Thailand during October 2015-July 2016. 150,454 of these workers have been allowed to work legally in the kingdom.

By: National News Bureau of Thailand

Published on: 16 August 2016

Thailand to offer training to Cambodian workers

Thailand plans to develop five training centres on its border with Cambodia in an attempt to smooth the integration process for migrant workers, officials told a Cambodian delegation last week.

From August 8 to 12, members of the delegation met with the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs and Labour, and with the Thai National Assembly, to discuss ways to improve the migration process for Cambodian workers in Thailand.

“We don’t know exactly when or where the centres will be established, but we welcome Thailand’s effort to ensure the safety and health of our workers,” said Chheang Vun, a CPP lawmaker, who led the delegation.

In September, Thailand will resume its efforts to provide legal documents for Cambodian migrant workers after it temporarily halted the process in March, Vun added.

According to Vun, there are currently estimated to be around 700,000 Cambodian workers in Thailand, most of whom are working illegally. An International Labour Organization survey last Monday suggested workers were opting not to apply for passport or work permits due to high costs and long waits.

Top Neth, spokesman of the Interior Ministry’s identification department, said migrant workers could apply for free travel documents that are valid for up to five years. Still, workers must provide a variety of supporting documents and travel to Phnom Penh to obtain the permits, Neth said.

By: Sen David and Cristina Maza, The Phnom Penh Post

Published on: 16 August 2016

Over one million foreign migrant workers are expected to register with Labour Ministry

Over 960,000 foreign migrant workers have registered with the Labour Ministry since April 1 and the number is expected to surpass one million when the deadline for registration ends on July 29.

According to the Labour Employment Department, altogether 965,203 migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar have registered since April 1 until July 27or.

Of these, 570,893 are migrant workers from Myanmar, 338,141 are Cambodians and 56,169 are Lao. There are also 20,627 dependents.

The Labour Employment Department predicted that the total number of registered migrant workers would surpass one million mark after the expiry of the deadline on July 29.

Department head Mr Arak Prommanee urged employers to bring their employees to register before the expiry of the deadline, warning that, after that, labour inspectors will start checking work places to find out if any of them are harbouring illegal workers.

Employers will face a maximum fine of 100,000 for having one illegal migrant worker and illegal migrant workers will face a maximum jailterm of five years and/or a fine of between 2,000-100,000 baht.

By: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

Published on: 29 July 2016

Migrant registration urged as extension deadline nears

The Department of Employment has urged employers to ensure their migrant workers from Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia complete the registration process allowing them to work in Thailand for another two years before the July 29 deadline or face harsh punishments.

Department chief Arrak Phrammani said Tuesday a total of 786,743 workers, 17,218 of whom were children, had registered at service centres and Employment Department offices in the provinces while almost 10,000 people had yet to register.

The registration period was extended from March 31. Mr Arrak warned the deadline would no longer be extended and after that his department would strictly examine employees and workplaces to see whether they hired alien workers who did not have work permits.
Violating employers face a maximum fine of 100,000 baht for each illegal worker. The workers face jail terms of up to five years and fines of up to 100,000 baht.

Under the Feb 23 cabinet resolution, migrant workers who have not had their nationalities verfied and hold temporary work permits, known as pink cards, are allowed to live and work in Thailand for a maximum of two years, or no later than March 31, 2018, after their work permits expired on March 31 this year.

Currently, pink-card holders can work in the country for one year and are then required to renew their work permits if they want to continue working.
The two-year renewal of the temporary work permit can be extended up to four times, or eight years in total.
The cabinet’s resolution applies to migrant workers from Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia. It also applies to their children aged under 18 who hold national verification documents issued by their countries of origin along with other documents such as passports, temporary passports, travel documents and certificates of identity.

The Prayut Chan-o-cha government has toughened up the law on illegal labourers since 2014 as part of its efforts to tackle human trafficking, especially in the fishing industry. Thailand was downgraded to the lowest Tier 3 status in the US State Department’s 2014 Trafficking in Persons report for failing to solve the problem.
Efforts to clean up the industry have been recognised by US authorities who announced on June 31 they would upgrade Thailand back to Tier 2 in the 2016 TIP report.

By: Bangkok Post

Published on: 12 July 2016

Illegal workers face major crackdown

Government panel to set up new anti-trafficking centres on three borders.

IN A BID to counter the problem of illegal migrants, foreign workers without permits face the prospect of mass arrests and large fines, Arak Prommanee, head of the Labour Ministry’s Employment Department, said yesterday.

The Committee on Foreign Workers and Human Trafficking Resolution Policies, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, resolved yesterday to push for facilitation centres and guidelines for “alien” workers to cut the number of illegal workers without proper papers.

In the meeting yesterday at the Ministry of Labour, Prawit encouraged the panel and concerned agencies to dissolve ineffective registration processes and verify the legal status of smuggled workers. He said the issue of illegal foreign workers affected national security.

The committee was set up following NCPO order no 73/2014 with Prawit as a chair, the Armed Forces Supreme Commander Sommai Kaotira and the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Labour ML Puntrik Smiti as deputy chiefs. It aims to crack down on people trafficking and illegal foreign labour.

According to Arak, the committee agreed to have a subcommittee study six resolutions:

shortcuts in the registration process that workers can take without having to wait for a health certificate (which can be a slow process);

guidelines to track registered workers’ homes and jobs;

a new version of work permits that shows jobs and areas of residence;

the International Labour Organisation’s work on fishing convention no 188;

new remand centres in Tak, Sa Kaeo and Nong Khai provinces to prevent human trafficking;

and worker service centres which have non-governmental agencies (NGOs) and private sectors involvement.

The director-general said to crack down on illegal labour, the ministry needs to take aggressive action. Workers without work permits will be jailed and made to pay a large fine. He said the ministry had tried to intensify punishment of employers who hire illegal labourers as well.

He said the ministry had to further study the possibility of easing the regulation that prohibits foreign workers taking some jobs.

Currently, there are 39 “skilled” jobs such as cooks, hairdressers, sellers and service sector work that Cambodian, Myanmar and Lao workers cannot do, Arak said. But many illegal workers do these jobs, he said, a key reason for the large number of illegal workers.

However, he said, the ministry would not jump to the conclusion that there was demand for foreign workers in prohibited jobs, adding the regulation would be maintained for now.

Arak also said in response to scandals over illegal workers bribing police to work without papers, police were responsible for the issue and the ministry would not interfere.

The ministry could only ask for police and concerned parties to cooperate and crack down on non-registered workers. It was the police’s business to deal with people who had been arrested, he said.

By: Juthathip Lucksanawong, The Nation
Published on: 14 June 2016
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