Special deal for employers of illegal workers

PHUKET: Employers of illegal Burmese, Cambodian or Lao workers – who were warned of severe penalties if they did not turn the workers in to the authorities by August 4 – have been granted a reprieve. Thanks to a decision by the Council of Ministers in Bangkok, employers in roughly half of Thailand’s provinces, including Phuket, will be allowed to continue employing a limited number of illegal workers until the end of August next year, provided they register them by October 4. In Phuket, a total of 4,746 illegal immigrants will be allowed to work in four industries – 1,711 in fishing; 536 in fishing-related businesses; 1,499 in rubber plantations; and 1,000 in construction. The inclusion of construction marks a departure from previous regulations; construction jobs used to be barred to workers from the three countries. A provincial spokesman said this was because construction companies were unable to find enough Thai workers to fill the jobs. Employers must take their illegal workers to the Provincial Employment Services Office and register them before October 4. The workers will have to undergo health checks, and employers will have to take out health insurance and pay a bond of 1,000 baht per worker, which they will forfeit if the worker disappears or overstays. Provided that all formalities are completed by November 1, the illegal workers will receive work permits valid until August 31, 2000. Employers of illegal labor who fail to comply by the deadline, as well as those who shelter or otherwise help illegals, risk imprisonment of up to five years or a fine of up to 50,000 baht, or both.

Phuket News

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