Migrant amnesty exceeds expectations

Migrant amnesty exceeds expectations

Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin
Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin

More than 540,000 migrant workers have so far registered with the Labour Ministry's Employment Department ahead of Saturday's deadline, according to Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin.

He said the number has exceeded expectations as labour officials had initially only expected there to be a total of around 500,000 when the registration period closed.

The online registration opened on Jan 15 to allow migrant workers including illegal ones to remain legally in the country until Feb 13, 2023 if they complete the process. Those who come forward to register will not face any penalties for being here illegally.

The move is intended to help the government curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country and address labour shortages brought on by border closures.

Normally migrant workers who complete employment would be required to return to their home countries before they are allowed to re-apply for new work permits.

Mr Suchart stressed yesterday that employers and migrant workers must complete registration by the Feb 13 deadline otherwise they cannot seek renewal of visas or work permits.

Migrant workers who wish to apply for a permit extension will undergo health checks, have their work permit verified, formally seek an employment extension with the labour office, pay a fee of 1,900 baht and re-register their employment record.

"The registration is extremely important. If you fail to do so by the deadline you can't proceed to the next steps. And authorities will have to take legal action," he said.

According to the Department of Employment, as of Friday a total of 540,594 migrant workers registered online. Of the number, 42,809 reported that they are not employed.

Bangkok saw the highest number of registered migrant workers (102,333), followed by Chon Buri (38,240) Pathum Thani (32,416), Samut Prakan (29,879) and Chiang Mai (23,986).

Suchart Pornchaiwisetkul, director-general of Department of Employment, said all the registered migrant workers are required to take Covid-19 tests, buy health insurance and report to immigration officials for collection of biometrics by April 16.

He said employed migrants must apply for work permits by June 16 and report to the Interior Ministry by Dec 30.

For the unemployed workers, they must report to the Interior Ministry by June 16.

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