Pursuing illegal migrant workers continues amid labour shortage

THAILAND: Authorities have continued to pursue and deport illegal workers and foreign job hunters from Myanmar, despite Thailand’s acute labour shortages. Scores of migrants were detained last month for illegal entry into the Kingdom.

People smuggling between Myanmar and Thailand has become rife. Smugglers receive between THB 18,000 (USD 540) and THB 25,000 (USD 750) to help Myanmar nationals cross the border, work around strict Covid-19 restrictions, and find mostly manual labour jobs in Thailand.

“Migrant workers have made huge changes to their lives and worked to adapt to Covid-19. So too have the human traffickers that prey on them,” UN-affiliated experts warned.

The UN experts urged governments to keep migrants from becoming victims of human trafficking.

“New strategies are required to address prevention and protection gaps that have emerged from or have been exacerbated by Covid-19. Tackling human traffickers as they ply their insidious trade online instead of in rural villages or at urban food stalls is just one example,” they said.

According to the Federation of Thai Industries, Thailand urgently needs around 800,000 migrant workers in key sectors.

“The industrial sector needs the most migrant workers, with demand now soaring to 500,000,” FTI vice-chairman Kriengkrai Thiennukul said.

In the tourism and services sectors, another 300,000 workers are needed.

“The business sector wants the government to speed up the process of importing migrant workers," he added.

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