Thailand has now taken steps to straighten out the problem of illegal workers in Thailand since many of them have been working in the country without authorization. Migrant workers have, in fact, been helping Thailand cope with labor shortages in some industries that do not demand high levels of expertise.
It is still illegal for migrant workers to be employed without permission in Thailand. In regard to Labor Day 2012, Raks Thai Foundation, with the collaboration of partner organizations, has recently held a discussion under the topic of “The End of Illegal Migrant Workers Legend and Its Impact on Economy, Society and Health in Thailand”, to serve as a stage where different stakeholders can exchange perspectives on the topic as well as to provide information regarding the extension of this year’s nationality verification.
Key speakers in this event included those from the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Public Health, National Fisheries Association of Thailand, Thai Labor Solidarity Committee and a migrant worker representative, who is from Cambodia; who said in order for Thailand to increase the number of registered migrant workers in the country, the registration period needed to be extended. He explained that those workers did not have enough time to do it, and very often when they did, the registration had already been closed. For this reason, many of them have to continue working illegally in the country.
Employers also have difficulties keeping their employees working for them for a long period of time, given that these workers tend to look for new jobs as soon as work permits have been obtained. Employers , therefore, are often forced to find quick replacement from other migrants, mostly illegal ones in need of job.
Other concerns also consist of health care and labor rights protection as well as the impact of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) on migrant workers in Thailand. According to the Executive Director of Raks Thai Foundation, Mr. Promboon Panitchpakdi, the government may need to consider revising its approach towards illegal migrant workers. The registration should be held more often and the cost of getting the work permit should be lower than what it is now. Special report : The End of Illegal Migrant workers in Thailand Project : National News Bureau of Thailand