Mr Suchart said that he had ordered Department of Employment officers to investigate the crime in provinces where many foreign workers are resident, including Chiang Mai, Surat Thani, Songkhla and Phuket, reports state news agency MCOT.
Mr Suchart explained that it was illegal for foreigners to sell ice cream as a hawker under the revised list of occupations issued by the Ministry of Labour on June 20 this year.
According to the report, Mr Suchart also explained that to work as a shop assistant or construction worker, such foreigners must have an employer, who must “strictly follow Department of Employment announcements about the conditions for accepting foreigners to work as salespeople, and construction workers must come from countries that Thailand has a Memorandum of Understanding with, such as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.”
“Minister of Labour MR Chatumongol Sonakul emphasised [the need to] inspect foreign workers and employers, as the management of foreign workers is matter of national security, is essential for the national economy, and affects career opportunities for Thai people,” Mr Suchart said.
“The Department of Employment must publicise and raise awareness of this among employers so they know and strictly comply with the conditions for accepting foreigners to work,” he added.
The regulation issued by the Department of Employment late last month stipulates new criteria for hiring of foreign workers as shop or sales staff, under which the number of foreign workers that may be hired is determined in proportion with the tax paid by the employer.
Under the announcement last month, foreigners found working illegally are to be fined B5,000-B50,000 and deported.
For their first offence, employers found illegally hiring foreign workers are to be fined B10,000-B100,000 per illegal foreign worker. A second offense shall result in a fine of B50,000-B200,000 for each foreign worker hired illegally, as well as a three-year ban on hiring foreign workers and the possibility of up to one year in jail.
Mr Suchart also revealed that from October 1 last year through July 1 this year, the Department of Employment had “inspected” 367,343 foreign workers, said the MCOT report.
Of those, 29,883 foreigners were found working in prohibited occupations, including 9,582 foreigners working in shops, 490 working as hawkers, and 19,811 in “other fields”, including textile production and providing massage services.
A total of 1,601 foreigners had been prosecuted during the period, the report added, noting that of the 1,601 prosecuted, 832 were Myanmar nationals, 318 were Cambodians, 301 were Laotians, 43 were Vietnamese, and 107 were of “other” nationalities. The report did not clarify whether the prosecutions were for breaking labour laws, or other laws.
Officers had fined the workers a total of B1,948,500, and 368 of the workers caught had been deported to their home countries, the report said.
The report did not mention whether any employers were fined.
The revised list of occupations prohibited to foreigners can be found here (in Thai only).
The Department of Employment’s official announcement regarding the conditions for employers to hire foreign workers can be found here (also in Thai only).