Deal opens up job market in Saudi Arabia
Thai and Saudi Arabian labour ministers have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the export of Thai labour that includes ensuring good conditions for workers in the Gulf state.
Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin met Human Resources and Social Development (HRSD) Minister Ahmad Sulaiman Al Rajhi to attend the signing ceremony in Riyadh on Monday, a source said.
The signing ceremony is seen as another important step in the restoration of bilateral relations between the two countries after the relationship turned sour 30 years ago.
Prior to then, Saudi Arabia was the largest labour market for Thai workers.
Currently, there are a total of 1,334 Thai workers in Saudi Arabia with many of them working as factory and kitchen workers, or as domestic workers.
The signed agreement is said to have labour protections in line with international standards that include having employers cover costs of employment management, travel expenses and how wages are paid.
The source said that Thailand is seeking help from Saudi Arabia in ensuring rights are protected for both employers and employees while enforcing regulations to ensure fair payments, welfare and privileges, plus cooperation over human trafficking issues
The export of Thai workers will be first conducted by the ministry's Employment Department under state-to-state cooperation so as to cut broker costs.
The ministry will help provide Thai workers wanting to work in Saudi Arabia with training to ensure their readiness, while the workers' qualification check, wages, privileges and other criteria will be overseen by the HRSD.
Saudi Arabia has planned to roll out measures to help maintain the quality of life and welfare for foreign migrant workers including an electronic-contract programme for rights protection and a labour mobility initiative to assist workers in the hospitality, health and industrial sectors.