Cabinet to mull easing migrant worker rules

Cabinet to mull easing migrant worker rules

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul

The Ministry of Public Health will work with the Labour Ministry to increase the supply of free migrant workers to needy employers, says Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.

Mr Anutin said he would raise the topic at Tuesday's cabinet meeting in order to reduce employers' obligation to bring in new migrant workers, especially those from Myanmar.

One specific issue Mr Anutin wants cabinet to discuss is the law that currently bans migrant workers from leaving the employer they were originally registered with and requiring them to switch to another one.

If that requirement is removed, employers who now have to wait for workers to be brought in and then must finance their 14-day quarantines will be able to simply hire migrant workers already in Thailand.

Some employers, especially those in the agricultural and fishery sectors, have been badly hit by the sharp drop of imported labour from Myanmar.

"Yet some migrant labourers in Thailand have had to return home because there is no work for them to do. The challenge is how to make these jobless migrant workers meet prospective new employers," the minister said on Monday.

In another development, Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, the director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said on Monday that more than 4,900 villagers in Tak province had been tested for the Covid-19 disease and that five had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Testing for Covid-19 has continued in Mae Sot district of this northern border province on all those considered at risk after three Myanmar lorry drivers tested positive for the virus at the Thai border on Oct 10.

The permanent crossing at the Second Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge in Mae Sot district has been closed from Oct 18-25.

Mae Sot has shut down all bars and ordered that food sellers to only process takeaway orders.

Five of the area's 20 communities are now in lockdown, meaning that public gatherings such as religious activities are banned, while schools have been closed for seven days and people's movements are being closely monitored.

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