Speaking at a recent conference in Phuket Town targetting employers who hire migrant workers, PPEO Chief Kattiya Pandech explained that the Phuket is currently home to 70,986 migrant workers, comprising 68,812 Myanmar nationals, 1,133 Laotians, 970 Cambodians and 71 Vietnamese.
Of those, 62,011 workers were registered through his office and the remaining 8,975 had been legally permitted to work in the country through the international Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) system set up between Thailand and neighbouring countries, he added.
The conference, held at the Merlin Phuket Hotel last Tuesday (Aug 20), was called to remind employers that they had until Nov 11 to submit the applications to allow their registered migrant workers to continue staying in the country and work legally.
The Nov 16 deadline was laid down by Cabinet resolution on Jan 16, with the same resolution ordering that migrant worker registration assistance centres be set up throughout the country, including in Phuket, to facilitate the registration of migrant workers specifically from Cambodian, Laos and Myanmar, Mr Kattiya explained.
Presiding over the conference was Phuket Vice Governor Thanyawat Chanpinit.
Also present to explain some of the processes and benefits of registering migrant workers were Wiang Suwanna, Chief of the Phuket Office of Labour Protection and Welfare, and Marasri Jairangsri, Chief of the Phuket branch of the Social Security Office.
Vice Governor Thanyawat noted, “There are a lot of migrant workers in Phuket, and they are still necessary for employers.
“This conference is to inform private companies, local administrative officers, community leaders, NGO, medias and public about the process and documents needed to register migrant workers,” he added.
“This [legal registration of migrant workers] also helps to prevent and decrease the number of human trafficking problems,” V/Gov Thanyawat said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted in a statement issued earlier this year, “The Royal Thai Government has campaigned to ensure that migrant workers wishing to work in Thailand are recruited through legal channels and possess legal work permits.
“Any employer who hires illegal migrant workers shall be charged and subject to a fine from 10,000 to 100,000 Thai Baht for each migrant worker.
“If the offense is repeated, the employer will be imprisoned for no more than one year, with a fine ranging from 50,000 to 200,000 Thai Baht for each migrant worker, and will also be prohibited from employing migrant workers for 3 years.
“This is to ensure that the protection of migrant workers’ rights is in line with the international standard,” the ministry noted.
The conference held last week to remind Phuket employers of their legal obligations to register migrant workers came just nine days after a building collapse in Rawai killed three Myanmar workers and injured eight others on Aug 11. (See stories here and here.)