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Temporary centres open across country to register migrant workers

Jul 24. 2017
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By Thanapat Kijjakosol
The Nation

Thai employers took Cambodian migrant workers to register at the Department of Skill Development (DSD)'s Sa Kaew branch office in Wattana Nakhon district on Monday.

The temporary centre will operate for 15 days from Monday until August 7 in line with another 100 such temporary centres nationwide.

The centres will process employers' requests to hire migrant workers and verify papers to issue a document equivalent to a temporary passport. Workers’ will present the document to Immigration Police when they apply for a border pass or passport and come back into the Kingdom legally with a proper visa and health check.

Sa Kaew Employment Office head Wasan Palas said that workers returning with a border pass could work in Thailand for three months while those holding a passport could work for up to two years.

The Royal Decree on Managing the Work of Aliens 2017 – which carries heavy fines for offenders such as Bt400,000 to Bt800,000 for employing illegal foreign workers – has been in effect since June 23. It led to employers laying off their illegally-hired migrant workers, resulting in thousands of them heading back to their home countries of Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos and causing a labour shortage in various sectors. 

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha invoked his special powers as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) chief, under Article 44, to suspend four key articles of the decree that prescribe harsher penalties until the end of this year to allow further review. 

The NCPO also had the Labour Ministry set up 100 temporary centres to let employers register their illegal migrant workers.

Construction contractor Thonglor Thongkhao, 48, said he had two Cambodian workers and one Lao worker whose papers either expired or didn't exist, so he took them to register at the Sa Kaew centre to prevent any future problems. 

He said he paid workers, Thai or migrant, at Bt400-Bt500 a day. He said he resorted to using migrants because he could not find Thai workers.

Construction material shop owner Hattakarn Thawornying, 33, said she hired 10 Cambodian workers who used a border pass to apply for work permits, which must be renewed every three months, because the cost of getting a passport through an agent was as high as Bt20,000 per head.

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