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Thailand to allow Cambodian migrants longer stay

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Migrant workers heading home for Khmer New Year in end March and Aril this year. Khmer Times

The Thai cabinet has approved a Labour Ministry plan to allow more than half a million foreign workers with proper travel documents to continue their employment until the end of May 2022.

Deputy government spokeswoman, Rachada Dhnadirek, said the approval was given in light of the government’s new guidelines on the management of migrant workers from Cambodia.

This also includes workers from Laos and Myanmar during the Covid-19 pandemic.

During its height, up to two million legal and illegal Cambodians were working in Thailand. Close t 100,000 Thailand had returned when their employers shuttered their businesses as a result of the pandemic.

The IOM, in a 2019 report stated that despite the low wages, Cambodian migrants remit an average of THB 39,312 (1,228) per year. Interviewees said that remittances are crucial in maintaining or improving living conditions for their families back in Cambodia.

The Labour Ministry guidelines aim to ensure the country maintains the labour force needed to strengthen the economy, but also reduce the risk of Covid-19 infections spreading from foreign nationals.

Ms Rachada said the cabinet yesterday decided to allow migrant workers holding passports, certificates of identity and other travel documents, excluding border passes, to continue working from the end of October this year when their permits expire, until March 31, 2022. There are 649,046 workers who fall in this group.

However, employers must bring their workers to provincial employment offices to file an employment extension application by the end of October.

When the application is accepted and associated fees are paid, the workers will be issued a receipt which they will need to proceed to the next step.

Migrant workers must undergo a health check at a state-run medical facility, a process which must be completed by Jan 31 next year, Ms Rachada said.

From Feb 1 next year, they must request an update of their employment registration data at district offices. They have until the end of March to finish this process.

Also, 92,572 migrant workers who hold a border pass and a work permit lasting until Oct 1 this year can carry on working until March 31, 2022.

They must also buy health insurance and have a health check-up, except those who are members of the social security fund, before Jan 31. Bangkok Post/Khmer Times

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