Wage hike draws foreign workers
- Published: 7/01/2013 at 06:22 PM
- Online news:
Many provinces from the Northeast to the South are feeling the pinch of the government's new wage policy which has begun to attract workers from neighbouring countries seeking jobs in Thailand.
A construction-material store in Phitsanulok province is in need of workers with 300-baht-daily wage. (Photo by Chinnawat Singha)
Police in Buri Ram province have arrested 208 illegal immigrants, 80% of them Cambodians, over the past four days starting Jan 1 after the 300-baht daily wage took effect across the country, said Pol Maj Gen Rattapong Yimyai, the provincial police chief. The rest were from Laos and Myanmar, he added.
The figure indicated a sharp rise in illegal immigration as the northeastern province arrested a total of 1,047 illegal workers last year, most of them Cambodians.
He suspected they were crossing the border into Buri Ram and then going on to other provinces to seek jobs. But they are being intercepted and pushed back to their own countries.
Pol Maj Gen Rattapong on Monday ordered all police stations along the border to work closely with Border Patrol Police to step up measures to block people from neighbouring countries illegally entering Thailand to take advantage of the new wage rise.
Buri Ram borders Cambodia with 15 passes linking the two countries.
In Pattani province, many factories cried foul about the wage hike, saying it added another burden on them in addition to the violence in the deep South which has dampened the confidence of business operators.
Pitak Korkiatpitak, advisor to the Federation of Provincial Industries, said factory owners in the border province were waiting for government measures to ease their burden and offset their production costs.
Factories in Pattani have not laid off workers or turned off their machines, but Mr Pitak stopped short of saying whether this last resort will be used in the future.
Nakhon Ratchasima is in a better position than those two provinces as factory owners could live with the new daily wage rise, according to Assadaluck Intarakamhaeng, chief of the Labour Protection and Welfare Office in the province.
But the province had another problem as more than 800 workers were laid off before year's end because of sluggish orders from overseas clients.
Factories producing garments, sportswear and electronic parts in Nakhon Ratchasima have been hard hit by the global economic slump. Most are located in Phimai, Dan Khun Thot, Pak Thong Chai and Muang districts.
The office had held talks with the affected factories and Mrs Assadaluck insisted they were not laid off by the wage increase.
One of the measures to tackle the wage hike policy, finance permanent secretary Areepong Bhoocha-oom said on Monday, was a Finance Ministry proposal to raise the income tax exemption limit from 150,000 baht to 300,000 baht for small and medium-sized enterprises which have an annual revenue below 50 million baht. It will be put to the cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
Mr Areepong said annual profit between 300,000 baht and one million baht will be subjected to 15% tax and annual profit exceeding one million to 20% tax under the proposal.
The exemption limit adjustment was proposed to the ministry by the Federation of Thai Industries, he said.
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