Phromphiriya Thammaupatham, representing the group, submitted the complaint to the Damrongtham Center, otherwise known as the Provincial Office of the Ombudsman, stating that the illegal workers are taking jobs of Thais and thus denying them an opportunity to make a living.
He and his colleagues urged the authorities to conduct appropriate investigations to determine the accurate facts then act accordingly.
The delegation was met by Kritsadee Chaiphakdi, Director of the Provincial Damrongtham Center, and Pichit Singthongkham, Phuket Employment Officer, who accepted the letter at the Muang district Damrongtham Center and said they would coordinate with the relevant departments internally.
Mr Phromphiriya, 37, explained that a huge proportion of people working in Phuket’s service and entertainment venues such as pubs and bars are foreigners who are usually not permitted to work.
“Many people are on tourist visas or do not have the necessary work documents to allow them to legally work here,” he said.
“Bar and restaurant workers such as waiters, hosts and bartenders, managers, receptionists and those working as entertainers such as dancers, performering groups, DJs, singers, musicians, almost 100% of positions in the hospitality industry are filled by illegal foreign workers,” Mr Phromphiriya added.
“Many foreigners enter the country on tourist visas and stay here for 5-10 years, regardless of the fact their visa has expired.
“It isn’t simply just one nationality either, there are many different nationalities in these roles, many of whom are in very obvious, front-of-house positions in bars and restaurants., attempting to attract customers from the street.”
He further explained that this was causing problems for Thai nationals who were unable to secure jobs in such roles.
“They are hijacking jobs from Thais and this is a big problem that is creating much hardship,” he said.
Mr Phromphiriya bemoaned the fact that there are no officials tasked with inspecting the situation and therefore was compelled to submit the letter requesting action be taken.
The letter asks for officials to conduct random spot checks on selected venues without any prior announcement so the business can not react in advance, with a particular focus on bars, pubs and restaurants, especially in busy tourist hubs such as Patong.
It also requests that workers are questioned when officials conduct their inspection, specifically to ensure they have work permits and the correct documentation to work in the place they are. If workers are in violation of this then they should be subject to arrest, prosecution and deportation to their respective home country. Anything other than this contravenes constitutional law, the letter concluded.
Mr Pichit confirmed he will liaise with the Phuket Damrongtham Center and coordinate with relevant agencies to visit selected areas to check whether there has been any wrongdoing as per the complaint, adding a reminder that all establishments are legally bound to strictly comply with the law on employment of foreigners.