Authorities in Thailand have stated they will fine migrant workers who enter the country illegally and deport them back to their home countries.
The Embassy of Laos in Bangkok informed the ministries of foreign affairs and labor and social welfare on Friday of a special agreement allowing undocumented workers in Thailand to continue working under special consideration.
The agreement applies to workers from Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar, however, future illegal arrivals will not be tolerated, according to the Lao Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare.
Thailand announced the news that it had reopened to tourists from 63 countries this month, with some migrant workers from neighboring countries believing this meant they would be free to return to work in the kingdom.
Some 342 migrant workers from Myanmar crossed into Thailand illegally in the last two weeks, where they were arrested, fined, and deported by Thai authorities.
The migrant workers were required to pay brokers around THB 25,000 each before being smuggled across the border into Thailand, according to a Thai official.
Although there have been no reports of Lao migrant workers entering Thailand illegally, the Lao authorities are concerned that this may happen in the future.
The Lao Embassy in Bangkok has urged the government of Laos to collaborate in preventing the smuggling of Lao migrants into Thailand.
Thai Private Sector Needs More Migrant Workers
Meanwhile, businesses in Thailand have called on their government to reopen the country for migrant workers, with demand for labor soaring after the country’s reopening.
The private sector has asked the government to draw up agreements with neighboring countries that would speed up the return of migrant workers.
A study by the Thai Department of Employment conducted in May found that Thai business operators needed 256,029 workers from Myanmar, 130,138 Cambodian workers, and 38,536 Lao nationals in their workplaces.
Migrant workers play an important role in the Thai economy, with a growing number of Thais being reluctant to work in certain industries.