Stranded migrant workers flock to immigration office

Stranded migrant workers flock to immigration office

Migrant workers from Laos and Vietnam on Wednesday wait in front of the immigration office in Muang district, Udon Thani, to submit a request for permission to continue to stay in Thailand until the border reopens. (Photo: Yuttapong Kumnodnae)
Migrant workers from Laos and Vietnam on Wednesday wait in front of the immigration office in Muang district, Udon Thani, to submit a request for permission to continue to stay in Thailand until the border reopens. (Photo: Yuttapong Kumnodnae)

UDON THANI: Many migrant workers holding temporary border passes or visas are turning up at the immigration office in Muang district of this northeastern province, seeking to extend their stay in Thailand because the border has been closed.

Thailand's border with Laos was shut after the government imposed the executive decree for administration in emergency situations to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Many migrant workers, mostly from Laos and Vietnam, were not able to return home before the border  was closed, leaving them stranded in Thailand. 

Aware of the problem, the Immigration Police Bureau planned to ask the cabinet for approval to allow them to stay until the border reopens.

However, since the cabinet has not yet given approval, they still need to get permission from immigration in the province where they are staying, before their travel documents expire.

Otherwise they would be liable to a fine of 500 baht per day.

The stranded workers began turning up in large numbers at the immigration office in Udon Thani on Tuesday, when it reopened after a long weekend. More followed on Wednesday.

Before going through formal procedures, they were required to have their temperature taken and to clean their hands with sanitising gel.

Tents were set up in front of the immigration office in Udon Thani and chairs provided for them to sit on - carefully placed about 1 metre apart in line with the social distancing rule.


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