Migrant workers – even undocumented – can stay until 2025

PHOTO: Migrant workers can extend their permits until 2025. (Flickr/The Foreign Photographer)

Migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam got a reprieve for the next few years as the Thai Cabinet extended their ability to stay in the country until early 2025. The extension of stay will be permitted for both documented and undocumented migrant workers and will lengthen the time they are allowed to stay until February 13, 2025. The move is being made to cope with labour shortages in Thailand, particularly in the industrial and service sectors.

A government spokesperson said that those who wish to say are required to apply for the extension. There are an estimated 1.69 million people currently working in Thailand from these 4 countries as documented migrant workers.

Workers in possession of a Thai work permit by August 1, 2020, will be able to apply for the long-term extension before February 13 of next year. Those who will receive new permits or are up for renewal after the August 1 deadline can still apply before their current permits expire and will get 1-year extensions up to 2 times.

The plan also provides a path for undocumented workers to achieve some level of legal status. Employers of these undocumented migrant workers will need to submit the names of their workers to the Department of Employment and will then have 60 days to apply for work permits for the workers on that list. This will essentially legalise the undocumented workers, about 120,000 of them by government estimates, to stay in Thailand until February 13, 2023.

Like the documented workers, these formerly undocumented migrant workers will be able to apply for one-year extensions up to two times with a cap on their stay on February 13, 2025, once the legalisation process has been done by their employer.

This move brings some security and uniformity to the issue of migrant workers from abroad. Figures from October 2020 concluded there were 2.34 million documented migrant workers currently in Thailand. Those workers can breathe a sigh of relief that their position is secure until 2025. Undocumented worker figures are a mystery and trafficking and smuggling of these undocumented workers has been a growing problem.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

Thailand News

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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