Phuket business operators protest migrant labor exodus

PHUKET: More than 20 business operators and contractors gathered at Phuket Provincial Hall to protest against a newly announced migrant worker labor law yesterday morning.

“A new executive decree on foreign workers’ management was launched on June 26, according to which operators who employ illegal foreign laborers may be fined up to 800,000 baht. This has caused thousands of laborers to return to their home countries for fear of up to five years of imprisonment for not being properly registered (story here),” said Prasart Boonthantrapiwat, chief of the ‘Association of Phuket Operators’.

He added that the announcement has led to a severe shortage of workers at businesses all over Phuket.

The group requested that the government start a registration process for illegal foreign workers and reorganize the Phuket Provincial Employment Office to make the process faster and more efficient.

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Weerachai Saeksom, chief of the ‘Association of Phuket Contracting Operators’ reiterated that the government must provide support for foreign laborers instead of forcing them to return.

Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong acknowledged the group’s concerns.

“I have ordered officials from relevant sectors to gather information and to come up with a solution. We will convene another meeting between the operators and officials ‘soon’ and bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion,” the governor said.

“We understand what concerns the operators are facing. We will ensure that Phuket Provincial Employment Office develops a system to process foreign laborers’ work permits in close coordination with officials at the Ranong-Myanmar border,” he added.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

Phuket News
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