Govt outlines steps, rules for migrant amnesty

Govt outlines steps, rules for migrant amnesty

The Labour Ministry has outlined the steps required to register illegal migrants from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar under the government's workers amnesty programme, which officially commences on Friday.

Both employed and unemployed migrant workers are eligible for the scheme approved by the cabinet on Dec 29 last year, which was mainly designed to help monitor migrant workers' conditions in the country in the wake of a second Covid-19 wave that has spread to over 50 provinces.

Once registered, a worker will be entitled to stay and work in Thailand for two years -- along with a dependent, who must already be in Thailand and less than 18 years of age at the time of registration.

Describing the registration as an "extraordinary" measure, Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin said the scheme will not only help the government limit the spread of Covid-19 in the country, it will also help shore up the labour shortage across several sectors brought on by border closures.

The four steps to register a migrant worker under the amnesty were outlined by the director-general of the Department of Employment, Suchat Pornchaiwiseskul, who said different rules apply for migrants who are currently unemployed.

First, employers should submit the names of the employees they wish to register on the ministry's e-work permit website.

In the second step, the employers must bring the workers in to be tested for Covid-19 and six other serious diseases.

They must also buy health insurance policies which cover at least two years by April 16. The overall costs of this step are estimated to between 7,200-7,300 baht for each worker.

The third step requires the employers to pay a work permit application fee of 1,900 baht for each worker via the counter service at 7-Eleven convenience stores or Krungthai Bank. Once paid, they can submit the permit application on behalf of the workers via the e-work permit website, along with the medical certificate issued for the workers after their check-up.

The third step must be completed by June 16. After completing this step, the workers will be issued with a "pink card", which allows them to stay in the country pending the completion of the registration process.

Finally, employers must accompany their workers to collect a receipt acknowledging the submission of their work permit applications, which they must lodge with the Department of Provincial Administration or the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to complete the process. This step and its associated fees must be paid and completed by Nov 12.

For migrant workers with no employers, the registration process follows mostly the same steps, except that the migrant must submit the necessary documents and pay the required fees themselves.

But before they can obtain the pink card, they must find an employer by Sept 13, according to the Labour Ministry's regulation.

Meanwhile, Adisorn Kerdmongkol, member of the Migrant Working Group (MWG), said the MWG has asked the Labour and Public Health ministries to lower the registration fees.

The costs, which run into thousands of baht, would deter illegal workers from registering, which runs counter to the government's intention to keep them in check for public health security reasons. "Many migrant workers can barely make ends meet. With no savings, registration is unthinkable for them," he said.

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