Illegal migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar will be allowed to legally work and reside in Thailand for two years along with their accompanying children, as part of the government's latest bid to monitor the spread of Covid-19 among migrant labourers.
Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin on Monday urged illegal migrant workers -- including those who are unemployed -- to register with authorities and process their work permits at the ministry's website, from today until Feb 13.
At a press briefing, Mr Suchart said the decision was made to improve the health of migrant workers in Thailand, in light of the latest Covid-19 outbreak.
The policy was approved by the cabinet last week, as a part of the government's efforts to encourage illegal migrant workers to come out for Covid-19 testing, the minister said.
Employed illegal migrants should ask their employers to register them with the Labour Ministry by submitting the required documents at the ministry's website.
Employers must then organise health screenings to detect Covid-19 and other communicable diseases at hospitals designated by the Public Health Ministry.
In addition, they must purchase two-year health insurance to cover their employees -- which costs up to 2,000 baht per person per year -- and pay a work permit registration fee of 1,900 baht.
The ministry announced additional regulations and requirements that migrant workers wishing to register must follow.
For a migrant worker's child to be allowed to stay, he or she must already be in Thailand and not be over 18 years old at the time of registration.
In addition, undocumented workers who are currently unemployed must find work within seven months after registering to be allowed to stay for two years, it said.
Unemployed migrants with children have until Feb 13 to register at the Employment Department's website.
They must arrange a health check by April 16 and present a two-year health insurance, and find an employer before Sept 13 to be allowed to stay.
Those who have registered will be allowed to stay until Feb 13, 2023, Mr Suchart said, adding that those who come out to register won't face any penalties for being here illegally.