Thailand to Legalize Undocumented Workers from Neighboring Countries

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Migrant workers waiting in line for vaccination in Thailand(Photo: Apichart Jinakul).

Thailand has said it hopes to legalize undocumented migrants to meet an increased demand for foreign labor.

Bangkok Post reports that If the plan is accepted, certain illegal laborers from Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam will be allowed to register and work legally in Thailand.

Director-General of the Department of Employment, Mr. Pairoj Chotikasathien, said at a committee meeting that the special registration is expected to help 50,000–60,000 workers who are already employed in the country. 

Registration of the illegal migrant workers will begin as soon as two weeks after the cabinet accepts a resolution from the ministry’s committee on migrant worker management. 

Mr. Pairoj said that the panel is targeting undocumented workers in the service industry, particularly those employed in restaurants.

However, it is unknown when the proposal will be submitted to the cabinet for approval.

The proposal will benefit employers wishing to upgrade the legal status of their migrant workers, according to Poj Aramwattananont, Vice Chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce and a member of the committee.

“Once registered, these workers will be able to work lawfully in Thailand until 13 February of the following year, and then will be able to renew their work licenses every year until 2025,” Mr Poj said.