Category Archives: Migration Policy in Thailand

Bid to reclassify some ‘Thai-only’ jobs

The Ministry of Labour will hold a public hearing on a proposal to review the rules and regulations on 39 jobs currently reserved for Thai nationals.

Waranont Pitiwan, director of the Department of Employment, said most Thais are now not interested in many of these jobs, so foreigners should be allowed to do. The list includes some construction workers, carpenters, waiters, petrol station attendants, fresh-market workers and cashiers.

He said the department will hold a meeting next week, and invite representatives from the construction, restaurant, tourism and other industries, as well as the Board of Trade, to air their views on the suggestion that foreigners be allowed to do these jobs legally.

By: The Nation

Published on: 19 September 2017

Imprisonment ‘should be removed’ from migrant law

Imprisonment should be removed as a penalty from the new migrant law, leaving only fines as a deterrent, a public hearing was told on Thursday.

The forum was held to listen to public opinions on the foreign workers law, which came into effect on June 23.

The participants sought to reduce the fines from 400,000 and 800,000 baht and lift the jail terms altogether for normal employment offences such as working without permits or doing prohibited jobs. The heavy penalties should apply only to human trafficking offences, they said.

For greater transparency, they also want a committee set up to determine the fines, instead of letting the director-general of the Employment Department or provincial governors decide.

The participants from the private sector also proposed that the 39 professions reserved for Thais be reviewed in line with the country’s development plans.

ML Puntarik said in principle the occupations involving traditional Thai knowledge and Thai arts, as well as those governed by professional councils, were reserved for Thais.

Labour Ministry permanent secretary ML Puntarik Smiti said a proposal to amend the law had to be completed in October. The opinions from participants at public hearings will be sent to the Council of State.

Anantachai Uthaipattanacheep said Cambodia would send 360 officials to facilitate the identification of migrant workers in Thailand. They will be stationed at the Cambodian Embassy in Bangkok and at centres in Rayong and Songkhla provinces from Sept 15 to Dec 12.

The government issued on June 23 an executive decree on migrant workers, with heavy fines on employers who hire illegal migrant workers. It triggered an exodus of workers and a sudden labour shortage in many industries as many employers suddenly stopped hiring them, prompting the government to allow a relaxation period.

By: Penchan Charoensuthipan, Bangkok Post

Published on: 7 September 2017

Migrant workers group asks for action against corruption in issuing ID papers

Thailand-based rights group Migrants Workers Rights Network (MWRN) asked the Myanmar Ministry of Labour to take effective action against the corruption linked to the issuing of Certificates of Identity (CI) in the kingdom.

“Our migrants have to pay for more than the real price at CI issuing stations, which are directly operated by Myanmar officials.

“We met with Myanmar’s labour ministry officials to discuss about those shameful cases,” U Aung Kyaw, president of MWRN told The Myanmar Times on Monday.

MWRN’s members met with U Win Shein, director general of the labour department of the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population at Nay Pyi Taw two weeks ago. The group also asked for action against the corruption linked to issuing passports and the exploitation by agencies of workers being sent to Thailand under a program established by a Memorandum of Understanding between the two governments.

According to MWRN, they discussed with ministry officials to prevent workers from being exploited.

Over 400,000 illegal Myanmar migrants, who registered with the Thai government, will have to apply for CI from Myanmar next month.

Activists and Myanmar migrants in Thailand told The Myanmar Times that workers holding pink cards had to pay about 5000 baht (K204,161) to 8000 baht in the processes of applying for CI, Visa or work permits due to the various brokers, agencies and the corruption of some officials.

There are about 700,000 illegal migrants who have already registered with the Thai government during the grace period from July 24 to August 7. before a new strict labour law is enacted.

About 402,000 out of the 700,000 migrants are Myanmar nationals, according to statements from Thailand.

Currently, the Thai government is investigating and verifying the relationship between illegal migrants and their employers.

The illegal migrants who passed the verification process of Thailand would be given the chance to live and work in the country after they applied for CIs, visas and work-permits.

Those who failed to register will have to return to their native countries.

Myanmar migrant worker Ko Maung Maung told The Myanmar Times earlier in August that his employer asked about 8000 baht from workers holding a pink card and asked about 9000 baht from those who do not have the proper documents.

“It is easy to apply for CI here. But, we can’t apply for it since our employer refuses to provide his signed recommendation.

“He told us to use his agents in applying for those documents. He also told us ‘quit the job if you are not satisfied’”, said Ko Maung Maung.

U Aung Kyaw, president of MWRN, said that the two governments have officially estimated 2310 baht as an average overall cost for the illegal migrants who passed the verifying requirements with the Thai government.

This includes the cost of applying for a CI (3120 baht), visa (500 baht), and work permit (1000 baht) as well as a medical check-up (500 baht).

U Aung Kyaw, added that the labour director general U Win Shein ensured that he will look closely into the matter.

The Myanmar Times was unable to get comments from U Win Shein despite several attempts.

U Win Shein told the media on August 18 that they opened about seven CI issuing centers in Thailand, and that they are planning to open more CI issuing centers and mobile centers for illegal Myanmar workers who will have to apply for the CI in September.

By: Zaw Zaw Htwe, the Myanmar Times

Published on: 30 August 2017

Lao govt opens centres to assist registration of workers in Thailand

VIENTIANE – The government has opened assistance centres in Thailand to help Lao workers there who currently hold purple cards (work permits), to ensure they are fully legal and are registered with the authorities.

The centres are operating from August 28 until the end of February 2018. They will determine the exact number of people of Lao nationality working in Thailand, and provide assistance for Lao workers who do not have legal documentation.

The acting director-general of the Department of Labour Skill Development and Employment under the Lao Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Anousone Khamsingsavath, on Monday explained the function of these centres.

She said the ministry wanted to confirm the nationality of workers so officials would be better placed to uphold their rights and ensure they did not suffer from mistreatment.

For several years, Lao workers in Thailand have not received protection under Thai law because they have not upgraded their status.

Officials expect that these centres will register and upgrade the status of 300-400 Lao workers a day by confirming their nationality.


By: Vientiane Times, Asia News Network, The Nation

Published on: 29 August 2017

Thousands of migrants must depart Thailand

Migrant workers wait to be processed at the registration centre in Chiang Mai in Thailand earlier this month. Human Rights and Development Foundation in Thailand

More than 3,300 undocumented Cambodian migrant workers, including children, have been deemed ineligible for legal status in interviews with the Thai Labour Ministry and will now have to leave the country, according to Thailand’s Employment Department.

In June, Thailand imposed hefty fines and prison terms on undocumented migrants and their employers, but suspended their implementation until December 31.

During a two-week window that ended on August 7, workers were able register with the Employment Department to get documented. The department is now interviewing employees and employers to verify their relationships, among other criteria.

Workers who didn’t register, or didn’t pass the interview, will now have to leave the country, an official of the Employment Department said, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the press.

“If migrants don’t pass the interview, they have to go back to their country and return under a memorandum of understanding [MoU],” he said.

The process to migrate under the Thai-Cambodian MoU has been criticised as being too expensive and time-consuming.

Those who pass, the official said, will have to apply for passports with the Cambodian Embassy in Thailand to become legal and evade the punishment.

According to an Employment Department database, 3,355 Cambodians didn’t pass the interview as of yesterday evening.

Among these were almost 800 minors who were ineligible for legal status because they were younger than 15. More than 100 were aged between 15 and 18 years, but failed because they were registered for work they weren’t allowed to perform.

Mom Sokchar, programme manager at Legal Support for Children and Women, expressed concern for the minors who weren’t allowed to stay. “Families might be separated,” he said. “The Thai government should respect the right to family.”

Dy The Hoya, of labour rights group Central, said children were particularly vulnerable because they didn’t have a path to becoming legal. “Most of them don’t even know whether they’re legal or illegal,” he said.

Almost 400,000 migrants have been interviewed so far. In total, more than 223,000 Cambodians will be interviewed.

About 1,500 Cambodian migrants failed the interview because they were found not to work for the employers they registered with before June 23. However, the majority were weeded out for reasons not published.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry and Cambodian Embassy could not be reached yesterday.


By: Leonie Kijewski, Phnom Penh Post

Published on: 24 August 2017


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