The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) yesterday unveiled new measures to regulate migrant workers who will be allowed to return to work in Thailand, saying they must be placed into state quarantine for 14 days first.
CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin said the centre was considering easing restrictions for two groups of migrant workers, comprising those with work permits and visas and those without.
Restrictions will be lifted for those in the construction and food industries, Dr Taweesilp said. Foreign workers must possess a certificate certifying their travel to Thailand as well as a fit-to-travel certificate. Employers who bring migrant workers into the country must provide guarantees for the workers, he said.
"Migrant workers must stay in quarantine for at least 14 days and have a tracking application," Dr Taweesilp said.
After quarantine, employers must arrange transport to take them to their workplaces.
Immigration Bureau commissioner Sompong Chingduang yesterday travelled to Phangnga and Phuket provinces to inspect operations at local immigration offices. Pol Lt Gen Sompong instructed immigration police to take video and still images while performing their duties. The recordings can help with finding out the source of infections in the case of a second wave of Covid-19 infections.
"Over the past 53 days, Thailand saw no local transmissions," Pol Lt Gen Sompong said.
"Labour smuggling will put the country at risk of a second wave [of Covid-19 infections]."
He added investigations into the source of infections will reveal those who have been involved in labour smuggling along the borders and warned that offenders will face heavy penalties.
About 300,000-400,000 foreigners stranded in Thailand are required to contact the Immigration Bureau to receive permission to continue to stay in or leave the kingdom from Aug 1–Sept 26.
Otherwise, they will be arrested and blacklisted.
Foreigners have been temporarily allowed to overstay their visas due to the pandemic.
The Employment Department warned employers not to hire illegal brokers to bring migrant workers into the country, saying that doing so might contribute to the spread of Covid-19.
Employment Department director-general Suchart Pornchaiwisetkul said Labour Minister MR Chatu Mongol Sonakul told the department to warn employers who need to employ foreign workers against deception by illegal labour brokers.
They often claimed they could bring foreign workers from neighbouring countries to work in Thailand during the Covid-19 pandemic.
That was despite the government's stringent entry measures and the closure of border crossings, Mr Suchart said.
Illegal labour brokers can be jailed for three to 10 years, face fines up to 1 million baht, or both.