New Foreign Workers Act gives illegal employees ‘grace period’ to get registered

Migrant workers line up for registration in Chumphon. Photo: State Media
Migrant workers line up for registration in Chumphon. Photo: State Media

Yesterday, Waranon Pitiwan, the Employment Department director-general, said that under 2017’s Executive Decree on the Management of Foreign Workers Act, employers may face labor shortages in the construction and service sectors.

Illegal workers will not be arrested in the first few months of implementation. Instead, they will be given a “grace period” to become registered workers and obtain legal documents, such as passports and visas.

The act was made effective on June 23. The aim is to regulate the number of migrant workers, and prevent foreigners from working without a permit.

It is no surprise that employers are unhappy about this new law. Those who hire unregistered foreign workers can expect tougher punishments, reported The Nation. Fines will be between THB400,000 and THB800,000.

Foreigners who work without permit will be fined between THB2,000 to THB100,000. They may also face up to five years of imprisonment.

Yesterday, the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) asked the government to reconsider the terms of the act. They also asked for a third round of registration for foreign workers, but Waranon rejected the idea.

Waranon advised that employers hire local labor instead, as there are 6000 to 7000 registered Thai workers seeking jobs every month.

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