11 July 2024

The Thai cabinet has decided to extend the stay in Thailand of migrant workers from Myanmar, Cambodia, the Lao PDR and Vietnam until February 13th, 2025, to address labour shortages in the industrial and service sectors.

Government Spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said yesterday (Tuesday) that this extension applies to both documented and undocumented migrant workers, but they are required to apply for an extension of stay.

He said that documented workers, whose work permits are due to expire on February 13th next year, are divided into two groups, estimated at about 1.69 million people.

The first group are those who receive their permits to work in Thailand by August 1st this year. They are required to apply for an extension before February 13th, 2023. Those who will receive their permits after August 1st this year can apply for the extension before the expiry of their permits, one year at a time for two consecutive years.

For undocumented migrant workers, their employers must submit the names of the people they want to hire to the Department of Employment, after which they will apply for work permits for their proposed employees within 60 days of submitting the list of names. These previously undocumented workers will be allowed to work in the country until February 13th next year.

If these workers want to stay on to work, they are required to apply for an extension of their work permit, which will allow them to continue to work for another year. Two extensions will be granted, but they can only stay until February 13th, 2025, like the documented migrant workers, said Thanakorn, adding that employers want to hire about 120,000 of this class of workers.

According to Employment Department information for October 2020, there were 2.34 million documented migrant workers in Thailand. Actual figures of undocumented workers are not known as the smuggling of these people remains rampant, with a number of trafficking gangs being caught almost daily.