Permit panic: Thailand spots 3,000+ migrant workers in hot water

Photo: by Mayank Austen Soofi, on unsplash.

The Department of Employment in Thailand identified over 3,000 migrant workers operating without required permits. This discovery was part of an ongoing clampdown on migrants engaged in jobs deemed off-limits for foreign workers.

Between October of the previous year and yesterday, the department conducted random checks on 53,732 workplaces across the country that employ migrant labourers. These investigations revealed that 3,464 migrants were working without the necessary permits.

The largest portion of these workers, 1,850, originated from Myanmar, followed by 636 from Cambodia, 562 from Laos, and 145 from Vietnam. Migrants from other nations made up the remainder. In addition to these figures, the department also found 1,634 individuals working in roles that are legally prohibited for migrant workers.

Pairoj Chotikasathien, the director-general of the department, emphasised that there are 40 occupations that migrant workers are not permitted to engage in. These occupations encompass activities such as street vending, hairdressing, providing public transportation services, offering massage therapy, and working as tour guides.

The majority of undocumented migrants, as well as those employed in prohibited occupations, were identified in Bangkok, the capital city, and in key provinces like Nonthaburi, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Nakhon Pathom, and Ranong.

Migrant workers discovered working in any of the 40 restricted occupations may be subject to fines ranging from 5,000 to 50,000 baht. Additionally, they will be deported to their home countries and subjected to a two-year employment ban in Thailand.

In related news, migrant workers are increasingly filling roles in Thailand‘s tourism and service sectors, due to a chronic manpower shortage, according to Tanit Sorat, deputy chairman of the Employers’ Confederation of Thailand (ECOT). The labour shortage is the result of new Thai graduates choosing freelance jobs and the country’s ageing population.

Sorat explained that with many graduates preferring a slower lifestyle over full-time positions, employers have to rely on workers from neighbouring countries. It is estimated that Thailand is facing a shortage of around 500,000 skilled and unskilled workers, particularly in the tourism and service sectors. Read more of this story HERE.

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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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