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MIGRANT WORKERS and their employers yesterday kept labour officials busy across Thailand as tens of thousands of them attempted to beat yesterday’s midnight deadline for official registration to work legally.
At the Labour Ministry’s Zeer Rangsit centre near Bangkok, thousands of Cambodian, Lao and Myanmar nationals who work in Thailand, as well as their employers, were seen queuing to register. It was the final day of the February 5-March 31 period for registration, and the ministry has said there will be no further extensions to the deadline.
According to the ministry, the Zeer Rangsit centre has a capacity to process about 2,000 workers per day, but there were as many as 4,000 yesterday. As a result, only those who booked their place in the queue in advance were served, while newcomers were asked to pre-register online for a later service.
Migrant workers and their employers will now be subject to strict enforcement of the new foreign labour law, under which an employer who hires illegal migrants is punishable with a fine of Bt10,000-100,000 per worker, while workers themselves who have no proper permit will be punishable with a fine of Bt2,000-50,000 per person.
In other major provincial cities in the North, Northeast, South and West, the scenes were similar to that in Bangkok, as both workers and employers did not want to miss the last chance to register.
In the southern province of Surat Thani, 90 per cent of migrant workers are Myanmar nationals due to the proximity to the border with that country.
The northeastern province of Buri Ram saw 1,578 migrant workers out of a total of 2,123 complete the registration process, with representation from all three nationalities -– Laotian, Cambodian and Myanmar.
In Tak province, which is near the Thai-Myanmar border, more than 1,000 migrant workers registered to work legally in Thailand on the last day.
More than 20,000 had previously completed the registration process.
In the southern province of Songkhla, the last day of registration was very busy, even though about 18,000 migrant workers from all three neighbouring countries had already registered to work legally in Thailand.
In the northeastern province of Udon Thani, 985 migrant workers had already registered to work legally, while more than 4,500 migrant workers had completed their registration in the southern province of Trang.