Deportation threats for Thai's work force

2012-12-14 18:02
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bangkok - Thailand's refusal to extend a Friday paperwork deadline for the country's foreign labourers would expose more than one million people to the threat of deportation, labour activists and officials said.

The government's deadline for an estimated 900 000 registered alien workers to prove their nationality to the Labour Ministry expired on Friday, exposing hundreds of thousands of Cambodian, Lao and Myanmar citizens to immediate deportation. The deadline only applied to labourers and not to foreign professionals.

Labour rights and business groups had urged the government to extend the deadline.

"We will not extend the deadline," said a senior official at the Labour Ministry who asked to remain anonymous.

"After this, all unverified foreign workers will need to leave the country and return through legal channels."

An estimated 2.5 million foreigners are labourers in Thailand, of whom 886 500 are registered with authorities, according to Labour Ministry figures.

Of the registered workers, about 530 000 met the Labour Ministry's Friday deadline to verify their nationalities and receive temporary passes from the ministry.

"After the deadline expires, we will get strict about deporting all unverified alien labourers," Immigration Police Commissioner Panu Kertlabpol said.

About 350 000 registered workers failed to meet the deadline and another 1.5 million foreigners work as labourers illegally, according to estimates by the government and labour rights groups.

A mass deportation would threaten labour-intensive industries, such as fisheries and construction, labour activists warned.

"If these 1.5 million people get sent back, the economy would be crushed. It's impossible," said Andy Hall, international adviser to the State Enterprise Work Relations Confederation of Thailand, one of the country's leading labour organisations.

Given Thailand's dependence on its illegal labour force, some question the seriousness of the government's threat of mass deportation.

"What we are going to see after today is a massive extortion exercise by Thai authorities because they will be able to take advantage of the undocumented workers," Hall said.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    thailand publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

VIDEO: 5 scintillating RWC tries from the weekend
World Cup 'curse' talk annoys Cameron
Meyer taking no chances
Butch happy with ‘best possible’ Bok side
Traffic Alerts

Are you burning the candle at both ends? Listen to your body and your emotional reactions. Know when to slow down or stop. It is more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.