Permits on cards for illegal Vietnamese
In an attempt to attract migrant workers from Vietnam to Thailand, the government has approved a proposal to provide work permits to illegal Vietnamese labourers.
However, the proposal requires these illegal labourers to return to Vietnam first and re-enter Thailand, according to Labour Minister Pol Gen Adul Sangsingkeo.
The proposal will benefit about 50,000 Vietnamese nationals who visit Thailand on a 30-day tourist visa and working illegally, he told the media yesterday after a meeting of the government's committee on policy for resolving migrant labour problems and tackling human trafficking in the labour sector.
The meeting was chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon.
The policy was approved after the committee agreed in principle to offer a wider range of jobs to Vietnamese nationals, said Pol Gen Adul.
This proposal was among a number of measures approved yesterday.
The committee also agreed to add housemaids and blue-collar workers in most industries to the list of work Vietnamese nationals will be allowed to do in Thailand, he said.
The same policy will also apply to migrant workers from Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia. But that will only happen after Thailand signs the memorandums of understanding (MoU) with the four nations on cooperation in supplying more labour to Thailand. Dates for the signing of the MoUs will be set soon.
For illegal Vietnamese labourers, Pol Gen Adult said after they return to their country, they may apply to return to Thailand as legal workers.
In the past, these illegal migrants would be treated as law breakers and barred re-entry.
The number of jobs Vietnamese workers will be allowed to take up depends on the number requested by their Thai employers, which currently stands at 3,200, he added.
More jobs for Vietnamese migrant workers is expected when the Thai-Vietnamese MoU is actually amended to allow for a wider range of jobs that can be done.
"After all, only the necessary number of Vietnamese migrant workers will be permitted to come and work here without affecting Thai workers and internal security," Pol Gen Adul.
With Thais eschewing jobs in the service industry, in favour of setting up businesses or online work, the labour pool for services is rapidly drying up, said the ministry.
Several business operators have turned to Vietnamese workers with knowledge of languages to make up the shortfall, said the ministry.
Sectors that have favoured Vietnamese labourers are the hotel and tourist industry.
Another important topic discussed and approved at yesterday's meeting were three measures to deal with a shortage of labour in the fishing industry, said Pol Gen Adul.
The first measure is to extend the time for about 11,000 migrant workers whose work permit is due to expire at the end of this month (Sept 30) to continue working in Thailand for another two years, he said.
They will, however, be required to report to labour authorities at the ministry's one-stop-service centres in coastal 22 provinces every year.
In the second measure, any other migrant workers holding a valid passport, temporary passport, certificate of identity or other travel documents and currently staying in Thailand will be issued a one-year work permit if they are interested in working in the fishing industry, he said.
The other measure approved is a plan to import 42,000 additional migrant workers from Myanmar for the fishing industry in response to a request by National Fisheries Association of Thailand, according to Pol Gen Adul.
An administration centre will be opened in Ranong province specifically to handle the registration of new Myanmar workers expected to arrive in the province from Kawthaung.