Businesses call on government to accelerate return of migrant workers

PHOTO: WHO Thailand

Businesses in Thailand are urging the government to speed up the process that will allow for the legal return of migrant workers from neighbouring countries. The Labour Ministry recently confirmed its intention to sign MoUs with Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos that would permit workers from those countries to enter Thailand from December.

However, according to a Bangkok Post report, Thailand’s private sector says this is not soon enough. Tanit Sorat from the Employers’ Confederation of Thai Trade and Industry is calling for the process to be accelerated so that workers can return this month instead of next.

“Demand for foreign labour is soaring right now after the country’s re-opening on November 1. The growth of exports and imports also resulted in a drastic shortage of unskilled workers. The MoU should be signed and implemented this month because the screening procedure for vaccinated workers takes time.”

Tanit has stressed the importance of migrant workers to the Thai economy, pointing out that they do work most Thais are reluctant to carry out. The Department of Employment recently carried out a study to determine the number of migrant workers needed across various sectors, including construction, hospitality, livestock, and agriculture. From that, officials have determined that Thai businesses need 256,029 Burmese workers, 130,138 workers from Cambodia, and 38,536 from Laos.

However, Tanit says demand is likely to far exceed those numbers and will only increase from next year. The Employers’ Confederation has suggested that employers be put in charge of providing Covid-19 vaccines to foreign workers and subsidising the costs of quarantine. Tanit has also called on the government to review the current regulations that allow workers to change jobs after only being in a position for a month.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

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