500,000 more migrant workers needed for recovery: Chamber of Commerce

500,000 more migrant workers needed for recovery: Chamber of Commerce

Migrant workers queue to receive a Covid-19 vaccination at Bang Yai market, Nonthaburi province. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
Migrant workers queue to receive a Covid-19 vaccination at Bang Yai market, Nonthaburi province. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

Thailand is short more than half a million migrant workers, the Thai Chamber of Commerce said on Tuesday, as the economy struggles with a slow post-pandemic recovery.

Demand for workers is high in labour-intensive sectors including agricultural goods and food processing for exports, construction, and tourism and services, Poj Aramwattananont, vice chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, told a news conference.

"Today, workers are a big issue for driving the economy," he said, adding the country would need a total of at least 3 million to 4 million migrant workers to get the economy moving forward.

Barriers to recruiting migrant workers include problems in their home countries such as civil unrest in Myanmar, and competition for workers from other countries like Japan and China, Mr Poj said.

At present, there are about 2.5 million documented migrant workers from Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, Pairoj Chotikasathien, head of the Labour Ministry's Employment Department, told the conference.

In a bid to ease the shortage, the cabinet last week approved labour management plans including allowing documented workers to stay until February 2025, he said.

Thailand will also allow illegal workers, this time including those from Vietnam, to be registered and work until February 2025, Mr Pairoj said.

With the improved labour plans and arrival of more workers, Thailand may see nearly 3 million migrant workers at the end of the year, he said. 


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