The number of workers who submitted the required paperwork on the first day of migrant worker registration was fewer than expected but the Labour Ministry's Employment Department insists it is satisfied with the figure of 11,000 who enrolled via its online portal, a seminar was told on Friday.
One migrant worker, Khang Min Lwin, told the virtual seminar there were only 640 people registering with the department online on the first day of registration on Friday.
Khang, a Myanmar worker at a factory in Samut Prakan, said many migrant workers were employed in Thailand but few had the money to pay for registration.
Those who did not have an employer or an address also had problems registering with the department. They turned to agents who usually charged 3,000-4,000 baht for their services to help them register, he said.
The virtual online seminar on the registration scheme was attended by migrant workers and coordinators of labour networks in various provinces such as Samut Prakan, Chiang Rai, Samut Sakhon, Chiang Mai, and Ranong.
On Dec 29, the cabinet allowed migrant workers without an employer and employers with migrant workers to register with the Employment Department online from Friday for a month until Feb 13.
Coordinator of the Foundation for Human Rights and Development in Chiang Mai, Pasuta Chuenkajorn, said only a few turned up at a government centre that helped migrant workers and their employees with registration in the province.
Most migrant workers in Chiang Mai were of other ethnicities who spoke languages other than Burmese, so it was difficult to for them to use the department's online system, Ms Pasuta said.
Regarding the ministerial regulation that requires migrant workers to pay 3,000 baht for a Covid-19 test, the coordinator said the foundation disagreed with this requirement as the price was too high.
Mae Fah Luang University academic Suebsakul Kijnukorn, from Chiang Rai, said only two migrant workers had contacted a centre providing free registration services in the province.
Some migrant workers had come with their employers for other reasons unaware of the registration, he said.
Employment Department deputy director Cherdsak Vitsuttikul said aim of the process was to contain the coronavirus.