PHUKET: The number of illegal alien workers in Phuket is around 200,000, it was announced at a Senate committee meeting in Phuket on Friday.
About 150 government officers, senators and private-sector representatives met at the Kata Beach Resort on Friday morning to brainstorm better ways to legalize the estimated 1.5 million illegal workers from neighboring countries, especially Burma.
Suvit Meksereekul, who chairs the Senate committee on labor and social welfare issues, said the government needs to develop clear-cut policies that would give alien workers and the people who hire them better long-term employment prospects.
The meeting tacitly accepted that the “nationality verification process” begun last year has been a failure and that human trafficking in Burmese workers continues.
“On the issue of human trafficking, I have heard that some operators buy new pickups on credit to transport the workers in from the border at Ranong. They just abandon the vehicles if they get caught,” he said.
Such practices speak to the scale of the business and the profits involved, he said.
Legal registration of all alien workers was the only real solution to the problem. Achieving this would require more cooperation from employers, he said.
“Right now businesses just see that they lack employees [and continue to hire illegal aliens]. If this continues the number of alien workers entering Thailand will be virtually unlimited. We need to get control of the situation by matching the numbers allowed to enter with the number of workers actually needed,” he said.
Lampang Senator Peera Manatas, who chairs a sub-committee on administrative issues related to registration of workers from Burma, Cambodia and Laos, reiterated that there is no way of knowing with accuracy how many workers from those countries are working in Thailand illegally.
Comprehensive registration would solve this problem, afford basic human rights and medical care for the workers, and put an end to complaints from abroad over such issues, he said.
Checks on workers at important border crossing towns in Chiang Rai, Tak and Ranong revealed that only about 50% of the migrants were registered, he said.
“We need help from the private sector, but employers seem worried that the workers will not stay with them long enough to justify the expense [of registration]. So we are looking for ways for the government to reduce such expenses,” Senator Peera said.
Further complicating the issue were views held by the workers, many of whom fear that registration would cause their families back home to be taxed.
“Also, our process is complicated and expensive for them, especially given the low earnings they make,” he said.
He was referring to the 2,000 baht fee for issuance of a “work permit” for those who undergo the verification process. For the Burmese workers who make up the majority, verification also requires an expensive trip to a “nationality verification center” at a Burmese border checkpoint across from Ranong, Chiang Rai or Tak province.
“As we are trying to solve the problem, today we come to listen to employers, business representatives and representatives from related government agencies including the Labor Department, Interior Ministry, police and the military,” he said.
As for the scheduled deadline for registration on February 28, 2012, the date would probably have to be extended because of the lack of compliance from workers, especially those from Burma, he said.
Although not specifically addressed, a key part of the problem is that many of the “Burmese” workers are not Burmese at all, but rather come from lands controlled by the Burmese junta.
Many, including many tens of thousands of ethnic Mons in Phuket, are effectively stateless – as are their children, many of whom have never known any home apart from Thailand.
Pol Maj Gen Suthep Suksanguan, vice president of the labor and social
welfare committee, estimated there are currently 10,000 children born to [illegal] alien workers living in Thailand.
“We have not given them nationality because their parents came here illegally. More important is the fact that the government of Myanmar doesn’t accept them either, saying they were born in Thailand and thus should be granted Thai nationality,” he said.
At present rates, the numbers of such stateless children living in Thailand could swell to 100,000 in the future, he said.
“What will happen if we have 100,000 [Thai-born] stateless people living here? It will be the same problem that the Rohingyas [stateless people from Western Burma] are now facing,” he said.
Nakorn Silpa-Archa, director-general of the Labor Ministry’s Department of Skill Development, said another reason there are more than million alien workers in Thailand is the fact that Thai employers are quick to hire them over suitably-qualified Thais.
Thai people should be offered jobs first, with jobs going to aliens only if they are really needed, he said.
Labor and social welfare committee spokesperson Suampha Kochakrai said another reason Thailand attracts so many migrant workers is that Thais are leaving their homeland to work abroad.
There are currently some 400,000 to 500,000 Thais working abroad, she said.
— Atchaa Khamlo & S. Fein
‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people
On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.
From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.
The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.
One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.
There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.
This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.
This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.
The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations
PHOTO: Hello Phuket – destined for huge tourist growth in the next six years – fodors.com
In 2018, international tourist arrival traffic grew by 6% to reach a total of 1.4 billion world tourists, according to research by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. And there’s a lot more to come with international travel predicted to increase by a massive 35% over the next six years to 2025.
But where is all that extra traffic going to go? Which destinations are quiet now that might be swarming with tourists in the years to come? Two destinations in Thailand are set for a prosperous future, according to the data. Whilst almost all the growth is excepted to be to Asian destinations, an under-visited resource for world tourism so far.
Euromonitor data has been used to simulate tourist growth models and reveal the fastest growing projected visitor arrivals in major cities and destinations around the world for 2025, compared to arrival figures in 2018.
In Thailand, Phuket’s tourist traffic is poised to increase up to 85% in the next six years, from nearly 12 million arrivals in 2018 to over 22 million in 2025. Bangkok is predicted to see the 8th most prolific rise in tourist traffic, with arrivals in Bangkok set to swell an additional 68% during the same period. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is set to explode with 104% increase in traffic over the next six years.
The data also predicts that both Bangkok and Phuket will rebound big time in 2020, Phuket in particular with a growth of around 20% for the next year, accord to the data from TravelSupermarket.com.
By 2025 the data predicts that Bangkok will be the world’s #1 tourist destination, a position it’s held before in recent years. The Thai capital will be followed by Singapore, Dubai, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, making South East Asia the world’s emerging tourism hotspot.
Some of the world’s favourites – New York, Paris, London – will continue to grow their tourist numbers but not at the rate of most Asian destinations.
You can read the full list HERE.
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works
The Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority says Rawai’s mains water supply will be shut off tomorrow (Tuesday, October 15) as new water pipes are fitted in front of The Title Beach Front condo resort complex on the town’s beachfront.
The mains water supply will be shut off from 9am until 4:30pm along the beachfront strip.
The PWA says the areas affected will be along Wiset Road along the Rawai beachfront road, as well as Soi Yanui and Soi Ruafaed.
Residents and businesses are being urged to collect water for use during the day today, before tomorrow morning’s shut-off.
As usual, the PWA say…“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Contact the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority on 076 319173 or 082 7901634 for more details.
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