Thailand ALERT:MIGRANT WORKERS (ILLEGAL FOREIGN WORKERS)nationality verification process is due to expire on Dec. 14

About 200,000 illegal Burmese migrant workers are among some 400,000 illegal foreign workers who are due to be deported back to their respected countries in December this year, according to a report by the Bangkok Post, a Thailand-based newspaper.There are eight verification centers in Thailand: in Bangkok, Samut Sakorn, Samut Prakan, Surat Thani, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Tak and Ranong.

Some 400,000 illegal migrant workers face the prospect of being deported after failing to undergo the nationality verification process, which expires on Dec 14.

Some 1.3 million out of 1.7 million migrant workers in the country have completed nationality verification, Labour Minister Padermchai Sasomsap said yesterday.

The remaining 400,000 migrant workers will be deported to their home countries if they fail to complete the verification process by the deadline, the minister said.

The ministry found that about 99,000 Lao migrant workers applying for nationality verification had not been approved to enter the process by Lao authorities.

“National verification requires cooperation from all sides, including Thai employers and origin countries,” Mr Padermchai said.

“Unless cooperation is given, the Labour Ministry will have to deport migrant workers who have not yet entered the process.”

The ministry requires all migrant workers from Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia, who were registered for work in Thailand last year, to enter the nationality verification process.

Once approved, workers will be granted a two-year work permit, which can be renewed for an additional two years.

The verification process initially expired last year, but the ministry sought cabinet approval to extend the deadline until June 14 this year.

The deadline was later extended again until December because the verification process has not yet completed.

Five additional verification centres have been opened to speed up the process. The new centres are in Bangkok, Samut Sakhon, Samut Prakan, Surat Thani and Chiang Mai. Previously, there were only three centres, in Chiang Rai, Tak and Ranong.

Employment Department director-general Prawit Khiangpol said migrant workers who have yet to enter the verification process would be sent back to their countries after Dec 14.

The ministry would not consider giving quotas for the import of legal migrant workers for the time being, he said.A source said the high cost of the process discouraged migrant workers from applying for national verification. Each worker had to pay about 3,000 baht for verification fees, work permits, health check-ups and a visa. They also had to cover other travelling expenses.

By The Bangkok Post
Published on 15 October 2012

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