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New labor laws see hundreds of migrant workers fired, sent home

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: At least 400 Burmese migrant workers in Phuket were sent back home yesterday morning after their employers terminated them as a consequence of draconian new labor laws.

Phuket Governor Norrphat Plodthong and other relevant officers oversaw the exodus.

The workers gathered at the Tha Rua shrine near the Heroines Monument in Si Sunthon. They were then transported to Ranong Province and then on to Myanmar.

The new law, according to which employers will be fined 400,000-800,000 baht for hiring migrant workers for ‘forbidden’ jobs (that is, jobs reserved for Thais only) and/or without a permit, was enforced on June 23.

However, the government has announced that enforcement of the law will be deferred for 120 days to allow time for all concerned parties to comply with the new requirements.

The announcement led to many migrant workers in Phuket, Krabi, and Phang Nga being fired. The workers then gathered at the Baan Srichumpaban Foundation in Phuket to ask for help in getting back home.

“We believe that this is just a small percentage of the illegal migrant workers in Phuket. The actual number is closer to 10,000. They still have a chance to come clean,” said Gov Norraphat.

Last week, The Nation reported that the new labor law has already caused tens of thousands of Cambodian and Myanmar migrant workers nationwide to leave Thailand from various border checkpoints in a bid to obtain proper documents in their home towns before re-entering the Kingdom for work.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

 

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