Hundreds to help with Korean harvest

Hundreds to help with Korean harvest

Thailand is aiming to deploy between 150 and 200 labourers to South Korea to help with the harvest season and bring home income, Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin said yesterday.

He was speaking after meeting labour officials in South Korea.

These workers are urgently needed for harvesting agricultural products, he said, adding that March to October is South Korea's harvest season.

Last month, 100 Thai workers completed a Korean language training class, which is required before they travel to work in the country under the so-called seasonal workers programme, he said.

Officials from both sides also agreed to implement a proposal by the Thai side to have Thai banks guarantee that labourers will honour their six-month contracts as a measure to hep workers, he said.

Initially, the Korean side required the ministry to collect 70,000 baht from each worker as a guarantee, he said.

But this practice is not allowed under Thai labour law, he said.

Following the agreement to implement the new plan, the ministry will next amend its memorandum of understanding with South Korea, seek cabinet approval on the matter and send a new batch of workers as requested in two months.

Khanitson Homyen, president of CK Bio Innovative Co, a company training Thai workers heading to South Korea, said the ministry aims to send up to 5,000 workers within two years.

The first batch of 500 trained workers were sent to Jeollanam-do, he said.

"Currently, there are about 20,000 legal Thai workers and 200,000 illegal Thai workers [in South Korea]," he said.

"Legally or illegally, these workers normally earn between 50,000 and 70,000 baht each. Collectively, they usually take more than 150 billion per year," he said.

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