Migrants get 6 more months to register
Negative Covid test result needed to renew work permits
The Labour Ministry will ask the cabinet to extend the registration period for migrant workers who risk losing their legal status during the pandemic for another six months.
Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin on Wednesday said an extended registration period for migrant workers would help maintain the legal status of those unable to submit documents required for work permit renewal, particularly a health certificate with Covid-19 test results, in time.
"Over 1.7 million migrant workers will lose their legal working status this year if they fail to renew their work permit.
No special treatment: Lawmakers wait to be interviewed by medical staff and undergo health screening before they enter parliament, which reconvened yesterday after a 14-day recess due to the recent Covid-19 outbreak. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
"That's why the ministry will renew the work permits for migrant workers after they register with the ministry online and have their health examined and their biometrics collected,'' Mr Suchart said.
Illegal migrant workers -- including those who are unemployed -- were initially required to register with authorities and process their work permits via the ministry's website, from Jan 15 until Feb 13, 2021.
Those who have registered will be allowed to stay for two years, Mr Suchart said, adding that those who come out to register won't face any penalties for being here illegally.
National security units proposed during a meeting with the ministry on Wednesday that the collection of the biometric data of illegal migrant workers should be completed by April 16.
The minister said every migrant worker who wishes to renew their work permit must receive a Covid-19 test at hospitals designated by the Public Health Ministry.
The cost of Covid-19 testing for migrant workers would be set by the Department of Medical Sciences, he said, adding the ministry promoted legal employment to help improve the quality of life of migrant workers.
Director-general of the Employment Department Suchart Pornchaiwiseskul said migrant workers who were unable to be re-employed within 30 days of losing their jobs would become illegal workers and normally must return to their country.
As the pandemic prevented them from doing so, cabinet allowed them to register online for permission to work and stay in Thailand temporarily, Mr Suchart said.
Only those from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar were allowed to overstay their visas.
However, they are required to register at the provincial employment office where they work to obtain an employment permit.