Connect with us

Business

Illegal Phuket migrant workers get five-month reprieve

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET: More than 20,000 unregistered migrant workers in Phuket now have until mid-June to register with the government, thanks to a Cabinet resolution earlier this month extending the deadline by five months.

The extension gives employers time to obtain two-year work permits for unregistered alien workers from Burma, Laos and Cambodia, said Phuket Provincial Employment Office Chief Noppadol Ployudee.

Workers whose permits were set to expire on January 20 or February 28 now have until June 14 to extend them, but their employers need to request the new permits and submit documents to begin their employees national verification process by April 12.

Any workers who fail to complete the verification process by June 14 will not be allowed to work after that date, he said.

As an added incentive, alien workers who apply for permits and complete the verification process before June 15 will be eligible for 500-baht visas to re-enter the country, Mr Noppadol said.

After the deadline, the visa fee will return to the normal rate of 2,000 baht, he said.

Mr Noppadol explained the new deadline to employers at a meeting attended by about 60 people at the Phuket Merlin Hotel on Tuesday.

Topics covered at the meeting included other issues affecting employers hiring low-wage foreign workers, such as the social security services registered workers would be eligible to receive.

Attendees were told there are 10,700 employers in Phuket with a total of 62,183 alien workers in their employ. These break down as follows:

– 38,287 Holders of permits who have completed the verification process;

– 859 Holders of permits under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Thailand and their home countries;

– 2,479 Holders of existing permits who have yet to complete the verification process;

– 20,588 New applicants who must complete the verification process by June 14.

Mr Noppadol said the Thai government is now in discussions with Laos and Cambodia that would allow their nationals to work in Thailand under an MOU agreement, doing away with the need for national verification.

However, the date when formal talks on the issue would take place had yet to be announced, he said.

Mr Noppadol said there are now 72 companies in the country registered with the Ministry of Labor to act as agents to help the employers complete the complicated process of legalizing alien workers.

In addition, the Burmese government has set up verification centers in five more provinces: Chiang Mai, Samut Sakhon, Samut Prakan, Surat Thani and Bangkok.

In addition to the original three located in Ranong, Tak and Chiang Rai, this brings the national network to eight, he said.

Nationwide, more than a million workers from the three countries must complete verification by the June 14 deadline.

In Phuket, the vast majority of migrant workers are Burmese or people of other ethnicities whose homelands are controlled by the Burmese junta, including many ethnic Mons.

Many unregistered workers fear that providing data to the Myanmar government would lead to persecution of family members back home or other injustices.

Estimates of the number of Burmese workers living in Phuket have ranged as high as 200,000.

A report in the independent Democratic Voice of Burma last month cited a migrant advocacy group claims that the verification and work permit scheme backed by both the Thai and Burmese governments has done little to improve the lives of those who enrolled.

The report quoted Sein Htay, group coordinator of the Human Rights and Development Foundation, as saying that of the 700,000 workers registered so far, only 50,000 enjoyed the same welfare benefits as their Thai counterparts.

Under Thai law, the employer must cover 5% of the worker’s social security fund, but Sein Htay said that many employers were reluctant to pay the extra money.

“The rest have no labor privileges whatsoever,” he said.

“When using the previous migrant ID cards, they had been entitled to the 30 baht healthcare scheme introduced under former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, but the registration process effectively canceled this privilege…

“In a way, they have become like the illegal migrant workers. Now they have to cover their own medical expenses and such,” the report quoted Sein Htay as charging.

“The current issue we are facing is that employers are refusing to take responsibility for their workers and denying them compensation [when injured at work]. And the workers can’t afford to sue their employers as court cases may take months or even years and there’s no guarantee that they would win the lawsuit,” he said.

— Atchaa Khamlo

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand1 hour ago

Thailand News Today | Australian released from death row, Samui restaurant raided | September 20

News2 hours ago

Pathum Thani man allegedly lights building on fire, sticks around to laugh and smile

Thailand2 hours ago

Australian and American on Thai death row released from Thai death row, Supreme Court clears drug trafficking case

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

World3 hours ago

Insect snacks hit Japanese vending machines

Thailand4 hours ago

The Return of ‘THE TIM’ | Thaiger Bites | September 20

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Monday Covid Update: 12,709 new cases; provincial totals

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand4 hours ago

Pattaya laundry shop reports ladies’ underwear thief is on the loose

World5 hours ago

Hanoi to ease Covid restrictions this week

Thailand6 hours ago

Morning Top Stories | No approved October re-opening, Phuket easing restrictions | September 20

Thailand6 hours ago

Government believes more suspects involved in theft from budget meant for the disabled

Thailand8 hours ago

Dual Pricing and Reduced tax on Alcohol | Good Morning Thailand | Episode 92

Thailand8 hours ago

Around 20 people arrested at Koh Samui restaurant for drinking alcohol, gambling, playing pool

Bangkok8 hours ago

Bangkok residents warned of flooding risk as torrential rain forecast this week

Thailand9 hours ago

Government seeks to regulate infectious waste disposal charges

World9 hours ago

Manny Pacquiao to run for president of the Philippines

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14 | Thaiger
Thailand6 days ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism7 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending