More than 42,400 migrants have been arrested for entering the country illegally so far this year, police said.
Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, the deputy national police chief, said his investigation team has carried out operations to clamp down on illegal migrant workers and their employers, as well as inspecting workplaces and campsites.
From Dec 29 last year up until Wednesday of last week, police arrested 42,443 migrant workers, 293 smugglers and 841 suspects who provided them with shelter.
Police raided 221 migrant smuggling networks and made 154 arrests. They also apprehended 402 ringleaders of said networks and arrested 1,769 migrant workers while seized 312 items including 182 vehicles and numerous bank books.
The police are currently looking into another 67 migrant smuggling networks, he said.
Employers found to be complicit in these cases can be fined up to 100,000 baht per illegal migrant. If they breach the law twice, they will be arrested and banned from hiring migrant workers for three years.
Meanwhile, illegal migrants face fines of up to 50,000 baht. They will be deported and prohibited from having a new work permit issued for the following two years.
Pol Gen Damrongsak said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha introduced a policy last month allowing illegal migrant workers to register to work legally in the kingdom, in an attempt to mitigate the risk of more Covid-19 outbreaks.
National police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk has also instructed related agencies to carry out operations to stem the tide of illegal migrant workers and suffocate their smuggling networks, while bringing wrongdoers to justice.
Pol Gen Suwat has also given orders to beef up inspections of restaurants to contain Covid-19 during the New Year festival, officials said.