The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has approved a process to bring migrant workers into the country to solve the ongoing labour shortage, complete with rules to ensure they are free of infectious diseases.
Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said the Labour Ministry has proposed eight steps to ensure people from other countries can be safely hired without importing any fresh cases of Covid-19, and the CCSA has given its official consent. The new rules are due to take effect next month.
The news should come as a relief to business owners as many industries are facing labour shortages as a result of Covid lockdowns being lifted amid a crackdown on illegal workers.
Dr Taweesilp said employers must deliver a form to employment offices if they hope to hire migrant workers from overseas and file an application with the relevant authorities.
Other countries must compile a list of prospective workers and send this to Thailand’s Labour Ministry and employers before employers can be issued work permits.
The ministry will also require evidence that the workers have been vaccinated and have health insurance, in order for them to be registered with the social security system.
Dr Taweesilp said the Employment Department will liaise with Thai embassies overseas to facilitate the migrant workers’ legitimate entry into the country.
Workers must carry their approval forms with them as well as Covid-19 test results, vaccination documents, visas and information showing where they will be quarantined and what transport they are taking, he added.
Fully vaccinated migrant workers must be quarantined for at least seven days and tested twice, while the unvaccinated have to spend two weeks in quarantine and carry out the same number of tests. Their employers will be responsible for all medical charges. After quarantine, their employers must pick them up so they can be properly trained and receive their work permit.
Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin said employers can bring in migrant workers themselves or via recruitment companies.
The five provinces of Ranong, Tak (Mae Sot district), Sa Kaeo, Nong Khai and Mukdahan will serve as quarantine locations for workers coming from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. Specific hotels will be designated to receive them.
Meanwhile, illegal migrants can register with the ministry without charge until Nov 30, officials said.