Category Archives: Migration Policy in Thailand

Govt to open one-stop fishery centres

The Labour Ministry will open special one-stop registration centres for fishery workers from neighbouring countries between Dec 3 and Jan 31.

The centres will also enable migrant workers who had previously registered but failed to renew their permits to re-register to legitimately work in the country, said Labour Minister Adul Sangsingkeo.

“Migrant workers who register through the centres will only be allowed to work in the fishery sector,” said Pol Gen Adul on Monday.

After registering their status with the centres, migrant workers would be granted permission to work for two years, but they would need to re-register every year.

The one-stop centres will also provide other services, such as medical checks, work contract examinations, retinal scanning, as well as the issuance of a temporary sea book, he added.

The Labour Ministry recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with its Lao, Cambodian and Myanmar counterparts to bring in additional workers.

This scheme is in response to a request by fishery operators, who have asked for the government’s permission to recruit and bring in 14,000 workers from the three countries.

Out of the 14,000 workers, 9,614 have sent their documents to their respective embassies for acknowledgement, while another 1,772 have been granted work permits.

These workers need to have valid passports or other similar documentation issued by their countries, according to Pol Gen Adul.

Any operators who want to recruit workers from the three countries can lodge their requests at provincial employment offices in the 22 coastal provinces between Nov 15 and Jan 31, he said.

In a related development, Pol Gen Adul said migrant workers whose permits expired on Sept 30 can have their permits renewed for another two years.

So far, 6,082 migrant workers have asked for permit extensions.

Most of them are Cambodian workers, numbering 4,565, followed by 1,397 Myanmar nationals and 120 Lao.

Most of them work in Rayong, Trat, Chon Buri, Pattani and Songkhla, he said.


Source: Bangkok Post


Myanmar migrant workers warned of MoU hiring conditions

Myanmar migrant workers who want to find employment in Thailand must go through the conditions of a MoU signed between the two countries on October 4, the country’s Labour Department has announced.

The department warned workers who go to Thailand illegally that they could face a prison term or a fine.

A passport is not enough documentation to go to Thailand, the department said, Myanmar workers will be allowed to stay in Thailand only if they get a visa.

Workers using fake passport and documents will face one to 10 years in prison and minimum Bt10,000 to Bt200,000 fine. Migrant workers should go to Thailand through MoU signed between the two countries and through local employment agencies, the department said.

 The appointments of Thai employers must be submitted to the Thai Labour Department from Myanmar’s Labour Department.

Thai agencies can contact Myanmar agencies with the permission of Thai labour department.

Work permits must be submitted to the Ministry of Labour Employment, Immigration and Population through the military labour attaché. Then, the work permits must be submitted to the committee of education, health and human resources development. With the permission of the committee, the Thai employer, or a representative of the Thai employer, must go to Myanmar and sign the contract of the employer and the employee. If the visa is approved, the migrant worker will be sent to the work site together with the representative of the employer holding the labour identity card.

Source: Eleven Media (via the Nation)
Published on 6 October 2018

Thailand to legalise illegal fish workers

Thailand to legalise illegal fish workers

Thailand would soon start legalising thousands of illegal Myanmar workers in its fishing industry as a first step to the signing of an agreement to provide more workers for the business, which is struggling with a labour shortage.

This arrangement was reached when Thai Labour Minister Adul Sangsingkeo visited Myanmar on August 16, said U Thein Swe, minister for Labour, Immigration and Population.

This month, a migrant worker office will be opened in Kawthaung township, Tanintharyi Region, to process the documents of illegal fishery workers in Thailand.

After the illegal workers have been given the proper documents, the office will start processing workers whose temporary passports and identity certificates will expire, as well as workers whose entry visas will expire, so they would be able to continue working in their present jobs.

U Thein Swe said on Tuesday, however, that the sending of 40,000 more workers to Thailand’s fishing industry would start only after parliament approves the plan.

“Legalisation of illegal workers will start at the end of this month. After the government approves the transfer of more workers, negotiations will be held with Thailand, probably next month,” he said.

The Myanmar Overseas Employment Agencies Federation has submitted suggestions on ensuring the safety of Myanmar fishery workers in accordance with international standards and Thai regulations.

U Thein Swe said that sending fishery workers to Thailand under a memorandum of understanding would ensure more protection for Myanmar workers.

More than 100,000 Myanmar nationals work in the Thai fishing industry, including over 40,000 on Thai fishing boats. About 45,400 work in fishing-related industries and 58,700 in marine product factories.


Source: Myanmar Times

Published on 13 September 2018

PM gives guideline to fix labour shortage in fishing

PM gives guideline to fix labour shortage in fishing

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has given a guideline for authorities to address the labour shortage in the fishery sector, government spokesman Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd said on Sunday.

Lt Gen Sansern said that, according to Gen Prayut, the problem must be tackled urgently since Thailand is one of the world’s leaders in the fishing industry, making a huge yearly income from it.

Since Thailand currently needs about 53,000 workers in the fishery sector, it has to rely on a workforce from neighbouring countries because Thai people are not keen on taking the jobs, he said.

The spokesman said Gen Prayut gives three options in his guideline. The first option is for Thailand to extend the work permits for migrant workers already in the fishery sector; the second is for the country to import more workers from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos; and the third is for the country to allow migrant workers in other fields who are already in the country to apply for work in the fishing industry.

In the first option, Thailand already has 11,000 migrant workers in the fishery sector whose work permits are due to expire on Sept 30, and their work permits can be extended for another two years until Sept 30, 2020. Their employers can take them to report to one-stop-service centres in 22 coastal provinces for the extension by Sept 30.

In the second option, Myanmar has already agreed to supply about 40,000 workers by the end of November. They can go through the registration and employment process at the one-stop-service centre in Ranong. An agreement has yet to be reached with Cambodia and Laos.

In the third option, workers in other sectors with full passports, temporary passports, letters of certification and other travel documents which are still valid can apply to work in the fishery sector for one year. Details of this will be announced later.

Lt Gen Sansern said the prime minister has instructed the Labour Ministry to urge employers and fishing business operators to expedite taking their workers, especially those in the first category, to report to the one-stop-service centres.


Source: Bangkok Post

Published on September 9, 2018


Thailand Needs Criminal Law to Shield Migrant Workers from Abuse: HRW

Thailand Needs Criminal Law to Shield Migrant Workers from Abuse: HRW

As Thailand prepares to extend work permits for 11,000 foreign migrant workers, including many in the fishing industry, a Human Rights Watch official called on the government Tuesday to outlaw forced labor.

Phil Robertson, a deputy Asia director for the global rights watchdog, praised the Thai government for ratifying an International Labor Organization (ILO) protocol on forced labor earlier this year, but he urged officials to pass a standalone law criminalizing such workplace practices.

“We’re worried the Thai government is hesitating to fulfill its commitment to pass such a law in the face of unprincipled opposition by the National Fisheries Association of Thailand (NFAT) and other employer groups who don’t want to take responsibility for forced labor practices against migrant workers from Burma [Myanmar], Cambodia, and elsewhere,” he told BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service.

At a news conference in Bangkok on Tuesday morning, Robertson joined members of the Migrant Working Group, a coalition of NGOs focused on health, education and labor rights to call for government action. Last week, Thai Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan announced that the government would extend for two years the work permits set to expire at the end of September.

In January, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report and video challenging the government over deplorable conditions for migrant workers in the nation’s fishing industry.  The 134-page report based on more than 200 interviews, spelled out how migrants – many of them from Myanmar and Cambodia – could be forced to work on fishing boats, prevented from changing employers, have their pay held or not be paid a minimum wage.

But NFAT Chairman Mongkol Sukcharoenkana said a new law was not needed.

“We in fisheries sector do not care about the claim about victimized laborers or the call for such law because we have solved those problems already,” Mongkol told BenarNews.

He added that about 10,600 fishing boats were active in Thailand, down from more than 42,000 when Thailand received a yellow card warning from the European Union (EU) in April 2015.

That warning meant Thailand could face a ban on exporting seafood to the EU because of unregulated practices in the fishing industry.

Vice Admiral Wannapol Klomkaew, deputy secretary of the government’s Command Center for Combatting Illegal Fishing, also played down the need for such a law, citing prosecutions of cases involving the mistreatment of foreign workers.

Since mid-2015, the courts have punished defendants in 42 of 88 cases regarding abusive or enforced labor practice in fishing sector and human trafficking, he told BenarNews without elaborating.

“We have PI-PO (port-in port-out) centers that examine the fishing boats so there is no place for illegal laborers. … We track employers with bad records,” Wannapol said.

Despite such comments from officials, Robertson said the country needed to protect workers.

“The decision point is now because Thailand needs to pass a forced labor law before the end of this year, or face the scorn of the international community,” he said.

“Some employer federations are claiming that if Thailand passes a criminal law against forced labor then foreign investors will not make investments here. My question to Thailand is why in the world would you want an investment from a company that wants to use forced labor? It’s better to tell that kind of investor to go somewhere else.”


Source: BenarNews (via Radio Free Asia)

Published on September 4, 2018

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