Authorities will tomorrow ask the cabinet to approve a plan to set up centres to receive, and send back migrant workers, as part of state measures against illegal workers and human trafficking.
At the cabinet meeting, deputy Employment Department chief Viwat Jiraphanvanich expects a nod from ministers to set up the centres in three border provinces on Aug 1.
The centres, to be located in Tak, Nong Khai and Sa Kaeo, aim to help foreigners become licensed labourers as well as orient them toward Thai labour laws and other cultural issues, he said.
The provinces are next to neighbouring countries where many people have set eyes on Thailand as their job destination, hoping to seek a better quality of life.
Tak borders Myanmar, Sa Kaeo is close to Cambodia, while Nong Khai is near the Thai-Lao border. Mr Viwat said these countries are aware of the government's need to keep their workers in line with the law and agree to help verify the nationalities of their people in the country. Myanmar nationals comprise the biggest number of foreign workers here, followed by Cambodians and Lao.
These centres are expected to help better manage the arrival and departure of foreign labourers through a legal channel, enabling their travel between countries while immigration police will continue their roles in watching for any illegal entries and deporting wrongdoers back to their countries through border checkpoints.
The Prayut Chan-o-cha government has toughened up the law on illegal labourers since 2014 under its efforts to curb human trafficking, especially in the fisheries industry. Thailand was downgraded to the lowest Tier 3 status in the US State Department's 2014 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report for failing to solve the problem.
Efforts to clean up the industry have been recognised by US authorities who announced on June 31 they would upgrade Thailand back to Tier 2 in the 2016 TIP report.