Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Few Thais heed Seoul’s warning on illegal work

Oct 24. 2018
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By The Nation

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Only three of the 120,000 undocumented Thais working in South Korea have registered with the authorities to return home during a grace period continuing through next March, according to Labour Minister Pol General Adul Sangsingkeo.

He said about 900 Thais had so far found their own way home without alerting South Korean authorities.

Adul this week called a meeting of relevant agencies, including the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Royal Thai Police and Thailand Travel Agents Association, to help the Thais return home and discuss measures to stop more Thais from going to South Korea work illegally.

He cited a Labour Attache report that only three Thai workers had so far registered to return home voluntarily, while 900 had left without notifying the authorities.

Of 200,000 Thai workers in South Korea, 66,000 were there legally and 24,000 had been dispatched there under the Employment Permit System.

All the rest were working illegally, the report said.

Many Thais obtain jobs in South Korea illegally with the help of brokers and arrive posing as tourists. Dubbed “phi noi” (little ghosts) by Thai news media, they have no rights and few if any healthcare benefits.

South Korea announced on October 1 that foreigners overstaying their visas or working illegally would be allowed to leave by March 31, 2019, without penalty.

Thai media have urged the illegal Thai workers to take this opportunity, noting that their illegal activity overseas would not be shared with the Thai government so they’d be able to re-enter South Korea in the future to work legally.

South Korea warned that foreigners caught working illegally in industries such as construction, adult entertainment and massage would be immediately deported and banned from returning for up to 10 years.

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