Thais who bought their own air tickets to return from war-torn Israel can now apply for reimbursement from the government, labour permanent secretary Pairote Chotikasathien said on Tuesday.
Separately, the cabinet meeting on Tuesday agreed to provide 50,000 baht compensation and low-interest loans of up to 150,000 baht to Thai workers who returned from Israel, so they could clear their debts to job brokers.
Mr Pairote said that since the conflict erupted on Oct 7, many Thais working there had left Israel. Some had been evacuated by the government and others bought their own air tickets.
Those who used their own money to return home could now submit requests for reimbursement for travel expenses, Mr Pairote said.
In Bangkok, application could be made at the labour ministry’s centre to help workers and monitor the unrest in Israel. Elsewhere, requests could be submitted at provincial labour offices.
They would have to show proof of travel expenses incurred since Oct 7 - tickets and boarding passes, receipts or other documents confirming payment, ID cards, copies of passports/travel documents, copies of bank accounts. All costs must have been incurred while overseas.
Mr Pairote said the ministry was duty-bound to receive requests filed by all Thais, students and workers, who returned home from Israel because of the violence. The documents would be forwarded to the Foreign Affairs Ministry for consideration, the labour secretary said.
Applications could be followed up through the Department of Consular Affairs' hotline, 02 572 8442.
“Labour Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn has expressed his concern for the safety of Thai workers in Israel. He has instructed ministry officials to take the best care of all Thai workers and provide urgent assistance to them, both in Israel and to those who returned home," Mr Pairote said.
"It is government policy that all Thais in Israel should return home, as it gives priority to their safety. Relatives are urged to tell family members who decide to stay in Israel to change their minds and return home as soon as possible."
Anyone wanting to return home could notify the embassy or go straight to the government shelter at David InterContinenal Kaufmann Street 12 hotel, Tel Aviv, 61501, Mr Pairote said.
Speaking after the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister and Finance Minister Srettha Thavisin said the situation in Israel showed no sign of easing. Instead, the fighting had intensified, with ground operations being constantly launched.
It was highly dangerous there, but some Thai workers still did not want to return home for financial reasons.
He said the cabinet on Tuesday approved the provision of 50,000 baht in compensation to workers who returned home from Israel and those who were going to return. The cabinet also agreed to provide one-off low-interest loans of up to 150,000 baht, so workers could write-down loans taken out to go and work in Israel.