Showing posts with label Employers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Employers. Show all posts

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

#Thailand - Shortage of migrant labour hits key sectors


MANY SECTORS, including construction in the capital, fisheries in the South and agriculture in border areas, are facing labour shortages due to the tough new labour law, sources said yesterday as migrant workers began returning to Thailand.

A construction site of the Red Line train (Bang Sue-Rangsit) needed to slow down after many Myanmar workers left their work to reprocess work permits, an official said. 

Workers at the construction site at Bang Sue central terminal also left work, even though they did not need to: they incorrectly believed that their “pink card” was no longer valid under the new law, the official added. He noted that those workers might take 10-20 days to check or reprocess the register before getting back to work.

However, other construction sectors were less affected by the new law, since major construction firms usually hire legal workers, according to an official at the State Railway of Thailand who declined to be named. 

Millions of migrant workers in Thailand were in a chaotic situation over the past week after the government issued a new decree to manage migrant workers. The decree took effect on June 23, threatening fines for employers of at least Bt400,000 for every illegal worker they hire. 

Only a few days after the decision, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha last Tuesday invoked his special powers under Article 44 to suspend four key articles of the decree until the end of the year. The suspended articles prescribe much harsher penalties against offending migrants and their employers until the end of this year. 

The suspension came too late for many companies, as thousands of legal and illegal workers panicked over the tough punishment and rushed to go to their home countries to process or reprocess their work permits and to register. More than 50,000 migrant workers reportedly returned home since last month, mostly to Myanmar and Cambodia. 

In order to end the chaos, the Labour Ministry will allow all Thai employers to register their Lao, Cambodian and Myanmar workers at temporary centres throughout the country from July 24 to August 7. 

While Prime Minister Prayut said earlier that he believed the workers from neighbouring countries would return to work in Thailand as there are demands in the market, Nit Ouitengkor, former president of Ranong Chamber of Commerce, said they might not return due to complicated legal procedures. There are more jobs available in their countries, including Myanmar, since the economy there is now growing faster than Thailand’s, he said. 

Ranong is Thailand’s southern port province, sitting next to Myanmar. The province is home to some of the most important fishery piers in the country. 

Many piers in the province yesterday were seen almost empty, while some were working with only half of the normal workforce. While it is estimated that more than 5 million migrants from neighbouring countries are working in Thailand currently, it is estimated that only half of them are documented. 

In the eastern border province of Sa Kaew, where there is a shortage of farm workers, local authorities coordinated with their Cambodian counterparts to encourage workers to cross the border to work. Many Cambodian workers have fled due to the new labour law in the past month, leaving many farms in trouble during the growing season. 

Sa Kaew provincial immigration chief, Benjapon Rodsawad, said Cambodian people are allowed to cross the border to work temporarily in the area in order to ease the current labour shortage.

With border pass papers, Cambodians would be allowed to enter and stay in Sa Kaew and neighbouring Pachin Buri province for seven days, he said, “so we have to strictly check their document in order prevent them from going deeper to other provinces or the capital”. 

Source - TheNation 

Sunday, 2 July 2017

#Cambodia - Thousands of migrant workers head home

New labour law causes panic but many expect to return with valid documents 

Several tens of thousands of  Cambodian and Myanmar migrant workers have left Thailand from various border checkpoints in a bid to obtain proper document in their home towns before re-entering the country for work.

In the Thai province of Sa Kaew, several thousand Cambodians sought to return home to apply for passports so that they could come back to work here legally as required by the new Thai foreign labour law. The stricter law has prompted some employers to stop hiring illegal migrants.

According to the new foreign labour law, employers of illegal migrants could face a hefty fine of Bt400,000-Bt800,000 per migrant worker if found to have violated the law. The government said enforcement of the law will be suspended for a 120-day period, starting June 23, to allow time for all parties concerned to comply with new requirements.

Pol Colonel Benjapol Rodsawad, the Sa Kaew immigration chief, said Cambodian migrant workers voluntarily turned themselves in at the border checkpoint to be handed over to Cambodian authorities. Some Cambodians said their previous employers wanted them to leave due to the hefty penalties under the new law, while many said they wanted to apply for Cambodian passports so that they could return to work here legally.

On June 28-29, immigration authorities also reported that a total of 546 Cambodians were detained for illegal entry into Thailand, including those detained by immigration offices in Saraburi, Ayuthaya, Samut Prakan and Pattani provinces.

Under the new foreign labour law, migrant workers are also subject to heavy penalties, including a fine of Bt2,000-Bt100,000 per person and/or imprisonment of up to five years, if arrested by Thai authorities for working here without proper permits.

Myanmar authorities in Myawaddy province opposite Thailand’s Mae Sot district of Tak province have opened a temporary facility to accommodate more than 10,000 returnees from Thailand at the border crossing.

Returnees are also offered food and shelter as they prepare to travel back to their hometowns. At least, 8,491 Myanmar workers are reported to have left Thailand over the past few days, while Myanmar authorities said they welcome returnees and no legal action would be taken.
Pol Colonel Passakorn Kwanwan, the Mae Sot police chief, said the Thai police would face disciplinary and other actions if they demand bribes from returnees.

However, business operators in Mae Sot have complained of labour shortage resulting from heavy penalties under the new law since about 90 per cent of workers in the area are illegal migrant workers.

Chaiwat Withit-thammawong, an adviser of Tak province’s chamber of commerce, said the new law is good for Thailand in the long run in terms of tackling problems resulting from a large number of illegal migrant workers in the country. 

The next step is to require employers and migrant workers to register properly but the government has to ensure that the process is fast and convenient while expenses are not high, Chaiwat said.

The fisheries industry also reported a severe shortage of labour due to enforcement of the new law.

Meanwhile, two Myanmar workers were injured when a bus taking them from Mae Sot to Samut Sakhon province veered off the road in Angthong province early Saturday.

The accident happened at 4am on the Bangkok-bound Asia highway in Moo 3, Tambon Lakfah, in the province’s Chaiyo district, said Pol-Lieutenant Chatchai Chaiya of Chaiyo police station.
The bus driver, Pinchai Thongsakul, 47, admitted that he had dozed off, causing the bus to veer off for about 100 metres. A Myanmar man suffered from back pain and a pregnant Myanmar woman suffered from vaginal bleeding. The two were rushed to the Chaiyo district hospital.
Pinchai said he had taken 26 Myanmar men and 22 women by bus from Samut Sakhon to renew their passport across the Mae Sot border and he was returning with them to Samut Sakhon when the accident happened.

Meanwhile in Tak, three police officers were removed from their posts and assigned  guard duty at Mae Sot Police Station, after a video clip showed them asking for bribes from Myanmar migrant workers.

Pol-Colonel Passakorn Klanwan, Mae Sot Police superintendent, revealed that the committee to investigate this issue has already been set up and if these three police officers are found guilty, there will be swift punishment according to the law.

Source - TheNation