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During an inspection led by Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut in Patong, foreign dive instructors job descriptions were clarified as the Public sector Anti Corruptoin Commission investigates allegations that the police have been extorting money from divers due to ambiguities in their work permits.
Chief Yaowapa Pibulpol, the Pucket Employment Office Chief said, “we only came to check work permits and clarify the information within them to the employees. We were not here to make any arrests, that is not our job”.
Despite a push from Governor Maitri and the Association of Thailand for Underwater Sports, (ATUS) job descriptions are only writtin in Thai in foreign work permits and according to Orakarn Tongkaew of the Employment Office that will not change. He said “work permits are the property of the Thai government and will only be written in Thai. However it is the job of our officers to explain the job description and what is written on the permit when the employee picks it up.
Ms. Yaowapa explained that dive instructors with work permits are allowed to lecture students and well as train them in swimming pools and in the sea. “You must carry out these activities in Phuket province only, as the authority of the Employment Office only covers people working in Phuket” she went on to stay. She then clarified that dive instructors are not meant to act as tour guides or help customers carry equipment. The Thai law lists 39 jobs that are specifically reserved for Thai nationals, and service jobs, such as carrying equipment and acting as tour guides are included in that list she said.