Thailand to rehire migrant workers to ease labor shortage

THAILAND: Beset by a labour shortage that is hurting its export and tourism-dependent economy, the country plans to reopen its borders to workers from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.

Pairote Chotikasathien, from the Ministry of Labour, estimated that Thailand needed 420,000 foreign workers, mostly in the construction, manufacturing and seafood industries. Export-centric industries such as food and rubber production are also heavily reliant on foreign manpower.

However, many workers left the country as it battled its worst COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year and have not returned. Strict border controls and quarantine rules have virtually halted all labour migration.

The Thai economy has shown signs of edging up, thanks to the relaxation of the Covid-19 containment measures which also impacted the migrant workers who remained in the country.

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