Category Archives: Migration Policy in Thailand
The Labour Minister has excelled directions for the management of foreign workers which is scheduled to end on the 31st March, coordinating with Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia to propel the citizenship verification process. Employment of foreign workers under Article 14 has expanded particularly in the fisheries industry in the 22 coastal provinces starting on the 1st of April, with emphasis that government officers must work proactively with visa fees of 500 Baht for Myanmar, Laos and Cambodian workers.
Labour Minister General Surasak Karnjanarat presided over the second subcommittee meeting to coordinate issues of foreign workers of the year. After the meeting, General Surasak said, “The Ministry of Labour is currently determining the direction for managing foreign worker issues after the 31st March 2015. The Ministry is working proactively in many areas simultaneously such as the acceleration for citizenship verification on workers from neighbouring countries where there has already been 1.6 million workers registered. However, the process cannot only be done by Thailand, it also requires the collaboration of origin counties too where there have already been talks with representatives from the neighbouring countries. Myanmar has assigned 5 teams to be stationed at the One Stop Service Center and another 21 special working teams to gather information on the citizenship verification process to submit to Thailand. Laos is currently arranging a team of officers which will increase the capacity on the verification process, with Cambodia also undergoing further processes. In any case, the 1.6 registered workers may not all be able to go through the verification process due to the complexity in the procedure to register or change employers, travel to origin countries and not returning and the request for foreign workers to enter/exit the border on a daily basis in accordance to Article 14 of The Foreign Workers Act. Some groups of foreign workers may also migrate to work along the borders or the Special Economic Zones as there is no necessity for further registration.”
Moreover, policies on the management of foreign worker issues after the 31st March were presented to officials and officers in provincial employment offices nationwide, reiterating a proactive approach and working ethically, staying clear of recruitment companies which could damage the reputation of the organization. The Ministry of Labour has consulted with relevant agencies such as the national army, navy, air force, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Public Health, Royal Thai Police, Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Interior and the Bangkok Administration Office to prepare locations and a workforce to support citizenship verification procedures after the 31st March 2015. Foreign workers will be categorized into 4 groups consisting of (1) those that have passed the verification process already and have been granted a work permit at the provincial Employment Office in effect until the 31st March 2016 (2) those who have provided a name list for the verification process but have not been able to do so, will be exempted and allowed to stay within the country until the 31st March 2016. This group must report themselves to get a new card and permit at One Stop Service Centers nationwide, starting from the 1st April 2015 to the 30th June 2015 (90 days). This group will be allowed to work until the 31st March 2016 (3) those who have not provided a name list within the 31st March 2015 will be inspected, arrested and retuned back to origins in accordance to the National Council on Peace and Order’s commandments number 100 and 101, and (4) family members under the age of 15 years must report themselves to get a new card with the foreign worker within the 30th June 2015. Family members who report themselves will have the same rights as the worker themselves, however if they do not report themselves, they too will be asked to leave the country with the worker. During the extended verification period between the 1st April to the 30th June 2015, the Labour Minister asked that all authoritative units have some leniency during this period. If workers that have not gone through the process are found, he asked that officers and officials help provide information and advise them to proceed correctly during the allocated time. The Labour Minister also reiterated that officers involved in misconduct will result with severe disciplinary measures.
Thailand and Myanmar have joined together to drive systematic management of inflowing workers, emphasizing collaboration on the foundation of being good neighbours. The Labour Minister highlighted that the 10 ASEAN countries will need to work closely together in terms of labour and skill standards. Myanmar is also ready to send 5 working teams to be stationed at service centers and 21 teams specifically to collect information on the citizenship verification for Thailand.
In the Ministers meeting between Thailand and Myanmar, Labour Minister General Surasak Karnjanarat talked about the policies by Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha on the 10 ASEAN member countries having to cooperate on the foundation of close relations, encompassing understanding for each country’s problems. Resulting from this, the resolution for different issues will need collaboration from all members for communal benefits. Therefore, he said that in forming the ASEAN Economic Community towards the end of 2015 and entering into the AEC in 2016, the 10 ASEAN member countries must cooperate more on labour issues. The conclusions from the meeting on this occasion was a direction to creative solutions for the future.
“In finding resolutions for Myanmar workers in Thailand, all parties should leave behind past problems and forget worries for what may happen after today. I hope that all parties turn all problems into easy solutions with clear understanding of one another,” said the Labour Minister.
The Labour Minister further said that in the past, Thailand was an exporter of workers, but have now become both an exporter and importer of workers. He added that if Thailand and Myanmar maintain a close relationship, there will likely be increased flexibility for workers along the border by using a border pass. There have also been studies on special entry types into the Special Economic Zones in Thailand which look promising. The Labour Minister reiterated that there must be collaboration on the standards of skills in order to set targets for the future on skill standards on a local, regional and international level.
The Minister on Labour, Employment and Social Security of Myanmar stated that he considered the meeting a successful one for both parties. On behalf of Myanmar, he thanked Thailand for the time period extension for the citizenship verification process by extending the time for pink card holders by 1 year. Furthermore, Myanmar claimed preparedness in sending 5 teams to station at the One Stop Service centers and another 21 teams specifically to collect information on Myanmar workers holding pink cards. Operations for this will commence around May and will finish around November of 2015. For those that have no passed the verification or are still in process, the teams will issue a Certificate of Identity within the 1st April 2016.
“The special working teams collecting data will send the information to officers and officials in Thailand. The Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security will ensure continuous close collaboration with Thailand for the benefit of both sides. Any issue that can be resolved from this consultation will be presented to the Cabinet of Ministers in Myanmar for further facilitation,” said the Myanmar Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security.
On the 19th March, the Thai Ministry of Labour and the Myanmar Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security met on a Ministerial level for the MOU on employment and to report progress on the registration and citizenship verification of Myanmar workers in Thailand. The meeting also allowed for the acknowledgement on the management of labour, the extended time period for the citizenship verification of Myanmar, Laotian and Cambodian workers and resolutions for labour shortages in the fisheries industry by the Cabinet on the 3rd March 2015. In the meeting, there was also the revision on the Memorandum of Understanding between Thailand and Myanmar on labour issues with Deputy Permanent Secretary Mr. Arrug Phommanee and Mr. U Myo Aung, Minister of the Labour, Employment and Social Security from Myanmar as national representatives.
By: Wichulada Buachai, Bureau of Public Relations, Ministry of Labour
Published on: 20 March 2015
The cabinet on 3 March 2015 approved the systematization of foreign workers as proposed by the Ministry of Labour, granting the Myanmar, Laos and Cambodian workers who have passed the nationality verification process prior to 31 March 2015 the right to work in Thailand for an additional 2 years after the expiry of their permit on 31 March 2016.
As for Myanmar, Laos and Cambodian workers who have received a work permit from the One Stop Service but fail to pass the nationality verification process by 31 March 2015 will have to request for a new identification and permit by 30 June 2015. The new permit will allow them to stay in the kingdom for 1 year, and can be employed from 1 April 2015 – 31 March 2016, providing more time for them to go through the nationality verification process.
After receiving the nationality verification, foreign workers will be allowed to work for 2 more years.
All unreported and unregistered workers within 30 June 2015 will be arrested for deportation in accordance with the law and the orders of the National Council for Peace and Order. Any dependants under 15 years old are also required to report themselves along with the workers in order to obtain the rights to stay in the kingdom.
On the systematization process, the Ministry of Labour has been appointed to consider and design the procedures, while the Ministry of Interior will set up One Stop Service centres for the registration of labourers, and will be the main agency to coordinate with the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Public Health, and other agencies. The One Stop Service centres are expected to begin services on 1 April 2015 until needed, with a dissolution date not exceeding 30 June 2015.
Regarding the solving of labour shortage in the fishing industry, registered Myanmar, Laos and Cambodian workers in the fishing industry will be allowed to work in the kingdom from 1 April 2015 – 31 March 2016, while the authorities are considering the feasibility of the legal foreign workers importation as proposed by the National Legislative Assembly.
The Thai government will also improve the Memorandum of Understanding on employment cooperation with the government of Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia, especially to reduce the gap time after the completion of a 4-year employment program from 3 years to just 30 days for the continuity of employment while still giving workers the time to visit their families.
The Cabinet met on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at Command Building, Government House. Some of the resolutions are as follows:
Title: Reorganization of Myanmar, Laotian and Cambodian migrant workers
The Cabinet granted approved the guideline for organization of Myanmar, Laotian and Cambodian migrant workers proposed by the Ministry of Labor as follows:
1. Guideline for reorganization of Myanmar, Laotian and Cambodian migrant workers after March 31, 2015:
1.1. Those whose nationalities have been verified by March 31, 2015 will obtain visa and work permit until March 31, 2016 (under Cabinet resolution on October 28, 2015). These workers followed all the steps required by National Council for Peace and Order within the stipulated time period. Their work permit will remain valid two years after permission ends on March 31, 2016;
1.2. Migrant workers obtaining work permit issued by the one-stop-service registration center for migrant workers and whose nationalities have not been verified by March 31, 2015 must report themselves to receive identity card by June 30, 2015, as well as new work permit. These workers will be allowed to stay in the Kingdom for one year and to work from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016 to complete nationality verification. Once their nationalities are verified, they will be allowed to say and work in the Kingdom for two more years;
1.3. Those who fail to report themselves for a new ID card and work permit by June 30, 2015 will be investigated, monitored, arrested, and sent back home under the commands No. 100/2014 and No.101/2014 made by National Council for Peace and Order on July 21, 2014; and
1.4. Followers aged below 15 years old must report themselves to obtain new ID card along with migrant workers by June 30, 2015. The reporting followers will be allowed to stay in the Kingdom as stated in 1.1 and 1.2 on a case by case basis. Those not reporting themselves will be sent back home along with migrant workers as stated in 1.3.
2. Solution to shortage of marine fishery workers
2.1. Short-term solution: Registration for marine fishery workers will be provided. Migrant workers whose nationalities are Myanmar, Laotian and Cambodian will be allowed to stay in the Kingdom for one year from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016; and
2.2. Long-term solution: Migrant workers will be legally imported through seven stages proposed by the National Legislative Assembly as follows:
1) Registration of workers and employers, and compilation of demand for marine fishery workers.
2) Recruitment of Thai workers and approval for importation of migrant workers.
3) Selection of legal employment agencies in case of importation of migrant workers.
4) Importation of migrant workers. National Fisheries Association Thailand as representative of members of fishery employers will cooperate with employment agencies on recruitment.
5) Orientation for marine fishery workers before they go offshore.
6) Control and monitoring of fishing boats and workers on board.
7) Penalty on state and private agencies violating relevant laws or regulations.
By: The Royal Thai Government
Published on: 3 March 2015
Highlighting Labour Welfare And National Benefits For Foreign Worker Verification Deadline On The 31st March
The Ministry of Labour consulted with relevant agencies on outlining framework for solving foreign labour problems before proposing to the Board of Policies and the Cabinet for further consideration this March. It was revealed that the Board of Policies agreed with the directions for after the 31st March 2015, separating the foreign workers into 4 groups. The first group would be those who have passed the process with permission to work until the 31st March 2016, with the option of a 2 year extension. The second group would be those who have submitted names and must go through the process in order to progress into the first group, and the third group would consist of those unable to provide name lists which who will be returned to origin countries, in accordance to the National Council on Peace and Order’s policies. As for the fourth group being the followers, if name lists have been provided as assigned, then rights will be given which will be the same as the second group; if not, then charges will be made also.
General Kitti Pathummas, assistant to the Ministry of Labour presided over the consultation to determine methods and procedures in managing foreign labourers before proposing them to the Board of Policies on managing foreign workers and human trafficking at the Tien Achakul conference room on the 10th floor of the Ministry’s building. He talked about Labour Minister General Surasak Karnjanarat’s plan on the necessity for foreign workers to support businesses, and thus there is the direction for policies with 4 points consisting of 1) sufficient quantity of foreign labourers to support business growth 2) appropriate quantities of foreign labourers within legal framework whereby the defence side are able to manage and monitor 3) an appropriate quantity to not raise problems or effect society, culture, the environment and the lifestyle of Thai people 4) foreign labourers entering the Kingdom must have welfare and protection at international standards, not facilitating forced labour or human trafficking in any way.
As for processes to be done after the 31st March 2015, this has been separated into 4 groups consisting of 1) those who have passed the process with permission to work until the 31st March 2016, with the option of a 2 year extension 2) those who have provided a name list for the verification process but have not been able to do so, will be exempted and allowed to stay within the country until the 31st March 2016, where once they have passed the process, they will be allowed a 2 year extension like the first group 3) those who have not provided a name list within the 31st March 2015 will be inspected, arrested and retuned back to origins in accordance to the National Council on Peach and Order’s commandments number 100 and 101 4) Followers of foreign workers who have provided names within the 31st March 2015 will be permitted to remain in the Kingdom like the second group. As for followers who have no provided names, they will be returned to origin countries of have cases proceeded with like the third group.
The consultation concluded procedures for the systematic management of Myanmar, Laotian and Cambodian workers after the 31st March 2015, where those that have not gone through the verification process within the assigned date are to report themselves for new cards by the 31st May 2015. Foreign workers will be permitted a 1 year stay in the country starting from the 31st March 2015. These will be proposed to the Board of Policies on Friday the 27th February at the Government House, before being passed to the Council of Ministers for further consideration in early March.
As for methods and stages in registering foreign labourers in fisheries, the meeting agreed on the 7 stages which relevant agencies had proposed to the National Legislative Assembly. This included the registration and compilation of needs for fishery workers by employers whereby the Fisheries Association of Thailand will be the main agency with the center for fishery worker management in the 22 provinces in taking job applications and attracting people to work in fisheries. Only legal companies will be selected, where there will be coordination with origin countries within the G2G MOUs, importing workers by the Fisheries Association. Fishing organizations will coordinate with the Ministry of Labour in caring for the workers before boarding the vessels, whereby the Fisheries Association and members will arrange accommodation for the workers in the 22 coastal provinces. There will also be consistent inspections carried out by the Department of Fisheries with consequences for those in misconduct.
The meeting also agreed on the amendments for Memorandums of Understanding with origin countries, about the spacing time period for workers completing 4 years of overseas work. Originally, the spacing period was set at 3 years, whereby foreign workers would have to return to origin countries. However, the new proposal is a 30 day spacing period, before allowing foreign workers to return to work again. This will align to the amount of time needed to prepare relevant documents for re-entering the country, allowing workers to visit family members and to reduce the time period in between work.
By: Chaninthorn Petchtub, Bureau of Public Relations, Ministry of Labour