Migrants get an extension on amnesty

Migrants get an extension on amnesty

500k workers need to sort out their permits

A shop that processes labour registration documentation for migrant workers in Bangkok's Kannayao district. The government has extended its foreign migrants' amnesty programme until the end of the month. The programme allows half a million workers from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam to sort out permits needed for them to reside and work in the country legally. (Photo: Pattanapong Hirunard)
A shop that processes labour registration documentation for migrant workers in Bangkok's Kannayao district. The government has extended its foreign migrants' amnesty programme until the end of the month. The programme allows half a million workers from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam to sort out permits needed for them to reside and work in the country legally. (Photo: Pattanapong Hirunard)

The cabinet has agreed to extend its foreign migrants' amnesty programme until the end of the month, allowing about 500,000 workers from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam to sort out the permits they need to legally reside and work in the country.

Deputy government spokeswoman, Traisuree Taisaranakul, said on Thursday that the decision to extend the amnesty programme was reached on Tuesday.

First launched on Feb 7, the foreign migrants' amnesty programme was intended to help stem the nation's labour shortage by allowing migrants from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam living in Thailand illegally to come forward and register without being penalised.

However, when the scheme ended on May 15, it was found that over 500,000 workers had yet to register with labour authorities, citing administrative and/or financial hurdles.

Ms Traisuree said the programme's extension would ensure more foreign migrants are protected under Thailand's labour laws.

"This is important as migrant workers are a vital part of Thailand's labour force and are key to the country's post-pandemic economic recovery," she said.

The extension will also cover any dependents of the migrant workers who are under 18, she said.

In an effort to streamline the registration process, the migrants will be processed depending on which category they fall under.

The first, she said, are migrants from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam who hold valid passports but failed to renew their permits, while the second are migrants from said countries who came to Thailand on a special labour arrangement. The third, she said, are migrants who entered Thailand illegally and had never applied for a work and/or residence permit.

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