700+ illegal foreign workers exposed in Thailand’s reserved jobs

Photo courtesy of The Nation

The Thai government has exposed a clandestine workforce of over 700 foreign workers engaged in professions reserved for locals over the past six months, officials declared today.

Government spokesperson Kharom Polpornklang disclosed that a vigorous crackdown by the Employment Department had ensnared 721 foreigners, predominantly employed as street vendors, hairdressers, drivers, and masseurs, prompted by grievances from indigenous workers.

The focal point of complaints revolved around provinces reliant on tourism.

During the initial half of fiscal 2024 (October 1 to March 18), the department meticulously inspected 25,628 enterprises nationwide, initiating legal action against 820 of them for illicitly hiring foreigners in occupations designated for Thais. Additionally, scrutiny of 306,577 foreigners led to legal measures against 1,689 individuals.

Of these, 721 faced charges for encroaching upon jobs reserved for Thais, with the remainder facing other violations. Notably, the majority of foreigners engaged in these jobs were discovered in Bangkok and its environs, Phuket, Koh Samui, Pattaya, and Chiang Mai.

Among the apprehended, Myanmar nationals constituted the largest group, with 316 caught, trailed by Cambodians (175), Laotians (106), Indians (65), Vietnamese (42), Chinese (5), and 12 other nationalities, reported The Nation.

The government spokesperson emphasised that most offenders were apprehended whilst vending goods on streets, providing hairdressing services, driving, or offering massage services.

In related news, in a crackdown on entertainment hotspots, police in Surat Thani Province found a restaurant owned by a Russian national on Koh Pha Ngan which illegally employed three Burmese workers. During a routine inspection, officers stumbled upon the Colorful Hut eatery, owned by a Russian national. The Russian was found guilty of exploiting three Burmese workers.

A joint operation involving Surat Thani police, tourist police, and immigration officers swooped in on March 12, nabbing the Russian and taking him away to Koh Pha Ngan Police Station for legal proceedings.

In other news, a 31 year old man from Hong Kong has been apprehended in the tourist hotspot of Phuket. The arrest occurred in a car park close to the iconic Phuket Big Buddha, officially known as Phra Phutta Ming Mongkol Eknakakiri, on Nakkerd Hill in the Mueang district’s Karon Subdistrict, yesterday around 5pm.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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