PHUKET: The drive by the Phuket Provincial Employment Service Office (ESO) to register all Burmese, Laotian and Cambodian laborers working in Phuket came to an end on Thursday. The ESO has warned that raids to find unregistered workers will now resume in earnest. In a campaign that began on August 28 as part of a national effort, the ESO registered 18,238 foreign workers – 17,719 Burmese, 358 Laotians and 161 Cambodians – working for 3,293 employers, and netted nearly 60 million baht in registration fees. Sayan Chuayjan, Chief of the ESO, told the Gazette, “In fact, we expected more. But it is at least closer to the real number.” In early September, K. Sayan said that he estimated some 30,000 workers from the three countries were in Phuket. At that time, only 5,741 were registered with the ESO. “I believe there are still unregistered workers in Phuket,” he said. He warned that, with the registration drive finished, raids on workplaces will resume. Employers found using unregistered labor will face prosecution. “Phuket’s geography is an advantage for us in that there are not many mountains or places in which illegal workers can hide, unlike in Phang Nga or Krabi. I believe we will be able to find these [illegal] workers easily.”
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