One-stop center for migrant worker registration to open in Phuket this month

PHUKET: Migrant workers living and working illegally on Phuket may be able to become fully legal and registered by the end of the month, confirmed the island’s employment office chief yesterday.

“We expect illegal workers to be able to register at Phuket’s one-stop center by the end of the month. All application processes and procedures will be completed in one day, and will cost 1,300 baht,” said Phuket Provincial Employment Office (PPEO) Chief Yaowapa Pibulpol.

A date for the opening, however, has yet to be set.

“Right now, we are being flexible with employers because the center isn’t open yet,” Ms Yaowapa said.

However, once it opens, they will have just 30 days in which to register their illegal workers. After that, both illegal workers and their employers are liable to prosecution, she added.

The first step in documenting Phuket’s migrant laborers is for employers to register all the names of their workers – both legal and illegal. Employers not in the fishing industry had until July 15 to do so (story here).

“The numbers have been tallied, and there are 753 employers with a total of 6,562 workers; 6,326 from Myanmar, 176 from Laos and 60 from Cambodia,” said Ms Yaowapa.

Fishing industry employers have until July 21 to register names. As of Wednesday, 45 employers had sent in the names of 634 workers; 627 from Myanmar, four from Laos and three from Cambodia,” Ms Yaowapa said.

“Additionally, there are 32 reported dependents, including partners and children; 31 Myanmar nationals and one Cambodian. These numbers include both legal and illegal workers,” she said.

The purpose of the one-stop centers, initiated by the National Council for Peace and Order, is to streamline the process of registering illegal immigrants (story here).

The push came after Thailand was put in the international spotlight for its human-trafficking record after the United States downgraded the country to the lowest level in its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report (story here).

— Saran Mitrarat

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