Migrant workers get free pass home for Songkran celebrations

Photo courtesy of Thai PBS World

To ease the journey home for migrant workers from Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar, Labour Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn announced yesterday that they will be exempted from re-entry fees if they wish to return to their home countries to celebrate Songkran between April 1 and May 15.

The decision, greenlit by the policy committee on the management of alien workers, aims to facilitate the annual tradition of Songkran celebrations for these workers and their families.

Phiphat clarified that this exemption also encompasses dependents of migrant workers holding passports or travel documents, specifically the Non-L-A visa, as long as their permitted stay in Thailand does not expire before May 15. Importantly, this means they won’t need to go through the hassle of applying for re-entry permits.

However, for those planning to return after May 15 or uncertain about their return dates, the normal procedure for re-entry permits applies, the minister advised.

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According to data from the Employment Department in 2023, Thailand hosted approximately 2.7 million documented migrant workers, reported Thai PBS World.

While figures for undocumented workers are unavailable, estimates suggest their numbers might rival those of their documented counterparts.

In related news, Phuket is gearing up to host its annual Songkran celebration at the Limelight shopping mall, with officials confirming this year’s event will once again be alcohol-free. Phuket Governor Sophon Suwannarat formally announced the official plans during a recent press conference.

Scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 13 from 4pm to 10pm, the celebration will unfold right in front of the popular shopping venue located on Dibuk Road. This event, free to the public, has consistently upheld an alcohol-free tradition, also known as Songkran No Al, with an exclusive area set aside for water play.

In other news, motorists are set to enjoy a toll-free journey on the newly announced Intercity Highway Number 81 (M81), disclosed Deputy Transport Minister Surapong Piyachot last Thursday. With 97.5% completion, the highway promises to revolutionise travel during the long Songkran break.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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