Employers ask government for police leniency toward migrant workers


BANGKOK, March 22 – Thailand’s private sector has called on the police to refrain from arresting migrant workers who are in the process of applying for employment licences before next month’s deadline.

Angsuras Areekul, chairman of the Thai Contractors Association, met with Labour Minister Phadermchai Sasomsub on Thursday to complain about harsh action by Thai police against migrant workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia despite a Cabinet resolution that leniency be applied in dealing with them as the workers are required to apply for employment registration within 120 days, or by the April 13 deadline.

He said officers from various police units including tourism, highway, immigration, provincial commands and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration have arrested unregistered migrant workers, worsening the problem of labour shortage in the construction industry.

Some migrant workers have switched from construction to work in factories while contractors, especially those in five southern provinces, are in deep trouble due to an insufficient labour force, he said.

The labour minister promised to ask the national police chief to send out instructions to police nationwide.

The minister will consult with the government on the possibility of setting up a labour police unit in the Labour Ministry to be in charge of cracking down on illegal migrant workers.

Labour police should thoroughly know the labour law and handle labour disputes or offences with better understanding, he said.