More than 160,000 migrant workers will be brought into Thailand without requiring quarantine courtesy of a newly signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) in a bid to stem illegal border crossers searching for employment, according to the Labour Ministry.
As of Wednesday, quarantine has been waived for migrant workers coming into the country via the MoU signed with Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, provided they have been double-dosed with vaccines and test negative for Covid-19.
In total, employers have applied to import 236,012 migrant workers from the three neighbouring countries. Of them, 165,376 are from Myanmar, 52,428 from Cambodia and 18,208 from Laos.
Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin said the coronavirus quarantine waiver for fully vaccinated migrant job seekers proceeded in tandem with the border reopening ordered by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) headed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
The quarantine waiver will help overcome shortages in the labour market which was contracted due to the coronavirus pandemic but is bouncing back as businesses gradually resume operations.
Mr Suchart said the waiver also applies to migrant workers who cross the border daily and return to their countries in the evening, as well as seasonal workers.
Apart from being fully vaccinated, the workers must have bought health insurance.
They are also subject to health checks and must undergo an ATK test.
If they are given a clean bill of health, they will be issued a work permit and employers can take them to work at their establishments.
However, if Covid-19 is detected, the workers will be quarantined.
Expenses associated with quarantine or treatment will be absorbed by the health insurance valued at a minimum of US$4,000 (132,000 baht) the workers have taken out.
If the expenses exceed the insurance, the employers must pay for the outstanding amount.