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Thais give migrant workers extension

Myanmar Times, Myanmar, 2 January 2018 - The deadline for migrant workers across Thailand to verify their nationalities has been extended until June.

Thai Labour Minister Adul Sangsingkeo said Sunday the ministry proposed to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha that he invoke section 44 of the interim charter to extend the deadline from the end of this year and he agreed.

This is the first time that the sweeping powers of section 44 have been used to extend the deadline.

Myanmar had also asked that the time frame be extended for its nationals.

Some 800,000 foreign workers have yet to go through the nationality verification process.

The extension came after migrant workers complained about delays at the so-called One-Stop Service (OSS) authority centre, which is overseeing the registration process.

Migrant labourers, mostly from neighbouring countries such as Myanmar and Cambodia, are required to pass a health examination and have their nationality verified in order to obtain a certificate of identity (CI), which they must have to apply for a visa and work permit.

Over two million migrant workers must have their nationalities certified by varying deadlines depending on which industry they work in.

Migrant workers holding “pink cards”, or temporary work permits, were originally ordered to finish the process by March 31.

Those who lacked any kind of work permit were given until December 31 for people working in the fisheries industry.

They all now have until the middle of 2018 to get the process completed.

So far over one million migrant workers have acquired their CIs. Another 824,541 have yet to start or finish doing so.

To streamline the operation, each centre will be supervised by an executive committee.

The Labour Ministry is also working closely with neighbouring countries to expedite the process, it said. Gen Adul promised that the OSS’s operations will improve within the next month or two.

He also sought cooperation from Thai employees to have their migrant workers legally registered by the new deadline.

The National Council for Peace and Order is now in the process of issuing an order under section 44 to formalise the new deadline, it said.

“The government is aware of the need for the deadline to be extended for over 800,000 migrant workers,” Gen Adul said.

Migrants who legally register with the government and secure a work permit within the new deadline will be allowed to work in the country until March 31, 2020, officials said.


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