New foreign labour law deferred 180 days

New foreign labour law deferred 180 days

Employers bring migrant workers to register at the employment office in Nakhon Ratchasima province, in line with the new executive decree on foreign labour. (Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)
Employers bring migrant workers to register at the employment office in Nakhon Ratchasima province, in line with the new executive decree on foreign labour. (Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) will invoke Section 44 of the interim charter to postpone the introduction of new penalties for employment of unregistered foreign workers until the end of this year, army chief Chalermchai Sitthisart said on Tuesday.

The new executive decree on foreign workers was promulgated on June 23. It imposed very high fines of 400,000-800,000 baht per offence for companies employing illegal foreign labour. 

It prompted a hasty exodus of about 30,000 unregistered workers back to neighbouring countries as employers quickly laid them off.

Gen Chalermchai, also NCPO secretary-general, said the new law bothered many people because they were given too little time to make the necessary adjustments.

Therefore, the imposition of the decree's Sections 101, 102, 119 and 122 would be postponed for 180 days until Dec 31, 2017, by use of Section 44, the army chief said.

Section 101 deals with penalties for illegal workers, Section 102 with penalties for employers hiring foreign workers in restricted positions, Section 119 with unreported employment, and Section 122 with employment of unlicensed workers.

Gen Chalermchai said the decree was beneficial because it would organise employment of foreign labour and promote national security.

Laws on foreign labour had been liberalised and there was no clear information on the number of workers here. The European Union, a major market for Thai goods, kept a close watch on the issue of foreign labour in Thailand and controls were necessary, Gen Chalermchai said.

The large fines set down by the decree were at the same level of punishment as other relevant labour laws, and that would benefit the overall national economy, he said.

NCPO spokesman Winthai Suvaree said the decree had caused many migrant workers to make sudden, unplanned trips, so the government would take steps to facilitate their travel.


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