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Government clamping down on illegal migrants in effort to curb Covid-19



PHOTO: Prachatai/Flickr

The Thai government is coming down hard on illegal migrant workers and their employers, in an effort to curb imported cases of Covid-19. The Bangkok Post reports today that the Labour Ministry has created 6 teams to focus on the issue of illegal workers and the bosses who hire them. Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin says the teams have been tasked with investigating and bringing offenders to justice, wherever they may be in the Kingdom.

It’s understood that thousands of migrant workers have crossed illegally into Thailand as the country finds itself in the grip of a highly-contagious third wave of Covid-19. The situation has been further exacerbated by the political turmoil in Myanmar, following the February 1 military coup.

Suchart says that last December, the government agreed to ease measures for workers from Cambodian, Laos and Myanmar, in order to allow them to work legally in Thailand. He adds that, in an attempt to help employers, officials agreed to extend Covid-19 screening and introduce a biometrics system through which workers could submit work permit applications up to June 16. He says once the period of easing ends, tougher laws will be introduced.

“We aim to strictly impose laws targeting 3 groups: employers and stakeholders who are involved with illegal migrants, migrants who enter and work in the kingdom illegally, and migrant workers who did not send information required for their work permits online by February 13 this year.”

Meanwhile, Pairoj Chotikasatien, deputy permanent secretary for labour, says that during the 2021 budget year, 647 employers – out of a total of 23,103 – were prosecuted for hiring migrant workers without the correct paperwork. 541 out of 331,689 migrant workers were also prosecuted.

The Bangkok Post reports that earlier this week, 13 Burmese migrants were arrested in the western province of Kanchanaburi, after crossing into Thailand illegally. The 7 men and 6 women were carrying bags of belongings but no travel documents when they were stopped and searched. Kanchanaburi officials say they have now caught 131 illegal migrants in 3 days.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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