Amnesty bid for illegal labourers


Penchan Charoensuthipan 

Business needs workers, says tdri

The junta has been urged to grant an amnesty to illegal migrant workers and set up job centres in border provinces in a bid to prevent middlemen reaping profits.

Yongyuth Chalamwong, of the Thailand Development Research Institute, yesterday said the National Council for Peace and Order’s absolute power meant it could solve problems more quickly than the previous administration, which often faced legal obstacles.

Mr Yongyuth said the military government should reduce obstacles by granting amnesty to illegal migrants. A large number of migrants have worked illegally in the country.

On receiving amnesty, those workers would not face punishment and they should be brought into the labour force, Mr Yongyuth said. There should be registration for both migrant workers and their dependants, he added.

The country’s trade and economy relied on migrant labour employment. Many enterprises hired migrant workers, he said.

More than two million migrant workers are believed to have registered to work legally in the country and the number of illegal migrants is estimated at 800,000-900,000.

The mass exodus of Cambodian workers over the past week reflected the high number of Cambodian migrants working in Thailand. Their departure would stifle production of many business enterprises, he said.

Cambodian workers who fled Thailand en masse last week have begun returning to the country as concerns over a harsh military crackdown eased.

Mr Yongyuth said the recruitment of migrant workers was slow and expensive. Employers were in dire need of migrant workers, he said.

Employers were in dire need of migrant workers, while job seekers had to pay high brokerage fees to job placement firms or brokers.

He suggested that job centres be opened in border provinces, bypassing job brokers who reaped profits from migrant workers seeking jobs in Thailand.

Wassana Lamdee, a labour rights activist at the Arom Pongpangan Foundation, said rumours of a looming military crackdown had driven many Cambodian workers to flee Thailand.

Now, many Cambodian workers have begun trickling back into the country.

She said authorities should disclose procedures on how migrants could work legally in the country after they return from Cambodia so they can be given labour protection.

Cambodian workers who fled Thailand and later wanted to return to work had high expenses.

To register as legal workers, they had to pay brokerage fees of more than 20,000 baht per head to middlemen, Ms Wassana said.



First published: ฺBangkok Post, June 18, 2014