The ministry is expected to ask for the cabinet’s approval at a weekly meeting set for later today (Dec 29).
If the cabinet approves the plan, the ministry would invoke Section 17 of the Immigration Act to make the registration of illegal migrant workers possible.
There are between 2.3-2.5 million legal migrant workers in Thailand, while up to a million more are believed to be living and working illegally in the country, according to experts’ estimates.
The proposed changes will only apply to illegal migrants from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar who entered Thailand before today. Any migrants who illegally entered the country after today won’t be eligible for the reprieve, the source added.
The move is intended to help the government keep track of illegal migrants in the country, so they could be included in the government’s disease control plans. Experts have said undocumented migrants are a major stumbling block to keeping local transmission in check.
Once registered, migrant workers who already have an employer will be able to continue working for the same employer, said the source.
As for newly-registered migrant workers who are not employed, the government will find jobs and employers for them, said the source.
Most importantly, as part of the new registration, the migrant workers will have to undergo a COVID-19 test and follow strict virus control protocols, the source added.