Free border pass for Songkran returnees

Free border pass for Songkran returnees

A boat with Thai and Myanmar people on board arrives at a pier in Mae Sot district in Tak from Myawaddy. (Photo by Assawin Pinitwong)
A boat with Thai and Myanmar people on board arrives at a pier in Mae Sot district in Tak from Myawaddy. (Photo by Assawin Pinitwong)

Workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia can return to their countries for the Songkran festival without having to pay a border pass fee, according to a policy committee on tackling migrant worker problems and human trafficking.

The waiver was announced at a panel meeting on Monday, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, Labour Minister Adul Sangsingkeo said.

It would be granted to those who work as labourers, housemaids, coordinators using Cambodian, Lao and Myanmar languages, as well fishing boat mechanics.

They need to hold either passports, or other identity papers that designate them having a non-immigrant L-A visa. The waiver would also apply to their children aged 18 or lower.

These workers must have work permits valid to at least April 30. Border pass fees will be waived if they go back to their countries between April 5-30 to celebrate the Songkran Festival, Pol Gen Adul said.

He said the waiver would be put to the cabinet for confirmation. If approved, the Interior Ministry would be responsible for ushering in a ministerial regulation authorising the waiver.

The minister insisted the fee exemption would only apply between April 5-30 and those returning to Thailand between May 1-31 would need to pay a visa fee of 2,000 baht.

If they return after May 31, they will need to seek a new work permit, according to Pol Gen Adul.

According to the minister, around 240,000 migrant workers are expected to return home during the Songkran festival this year.

Pol Gen Adul also said applications for seaman's books for migrant workers at the ministry's One Stop Service centres are still open but end at the end of this month.


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