On January 20, 2021, the Foreign Worker Management Policies Committee approved to extend the screening period for foreign workers by six months, following the Cabinet’s resolutions on August 20, 2019, on August 4, 2020, on November 10, 2020, and on December 29, 2020. The reason is that the new wave of Covid-19 outbreaks has disrupted foreign worker management processes, causing workers to be unable to proceed on time.
Labour Minister Mr. Suchart Chomklin revealed that the new wave of Covid-19 outbreaks had broadened the diseases’ spread in many areas. Therefore, the government must increase the concentration of proactive screening among migrant workers, which creates limitations and impacts public health measures resulting in a chain effect. In addition, measures forbidding the movement of people between areas or areas with a high risk of infection have impacted the foreign worker management process, causing many foreign workers to not get necessary processes completed on time. After the given time window expires, the foreign workers’ permission to stay in the Kingdom legally also expires, and they cannot proceed any further.
“The Ministry of Labour is committed to government policy, under the leadership of Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, who expressed concern about the issues of migrant workers living and working in Thailand, in terms of health, to prevent the spread of disease. This includes problems faced by employers/business establishments in Thailand that faced labour shortages with driving their business. The Foreign Worker Management Policies Committee Meeting No. 1/2021, therefore, passed a resolution approving a review of guidelines following the Cabinet’s resolution and to prepare proposed solutions to the Cabinet to alleviate the troubles of employers/business establishments and foreign workers amidst the Covid-19 pandemic,” the Labour Minister said.
The Department of Employment’s Director-General Mr. Suchart Pornchaiwisetkun revealed that the Ministry of Labour’s Department of Employment had prepared proposed solutions to manage the work of foreigners according to the Cabinet’s resolution for four groups, with the key points as follows:
1. Foreign workers, according to the Cabinet’s resolution dated August 20, 2019, who have completed all processes, totaled 1,162,443 people who have received work permits valid until March 31, 2022. The workers have been granted temporary permission to stay in the Kingdom until March 31, 2021, and under special circumstances from April 1, 2021, to September 30, 2021, for six months, allowing foreign workers to conduct a health check and proceed to apply for permission to stay in the Kingdom for another year until March 31, 2022
2. Foreign workers, according to the Cabinet’s resolution on August 4, 2020, divided into two types according to the identity documents as follows:
1) Foreign workers holding passports or a document used instead of a passport, which requires health examination and application for permission to stay in the Kingdom temporarily, to be completed by January 31, 2021. This group totals 201,771 people. The operations can be extended for another six months and must be completed by July 31, 2021. The workers must then prepare/update their registration and identity card for non-Thai citizens who have a work permit on the back of the card with the Department of Provincial Administration. This process is to be completed by September 30, 2021. the foreign workers must use the work permit application receipt and the work permit fee receipt received from the Department of Employment as proof of the work permit until receiving the work permit on the back of the non-Thai ID card.
2) Foreign workers holding border pass cards set to apply for a work permit with the Department of Employment before the original work permit expires will be allowed to work at a time for not more than three consecutive months not exceeding March 31, 2022. This group consists of 36,173 people who can extend the period to use the medical certificate, together with applying for a work permit for another six months. The medical certificate and the work permit application is required for the 4th time (work permit cycle from August 1, 2021, to October 31, 2021).
3. Foreign workers, according to the Cabinet’s resolution on November 10, 2020, who came to work under the Memorandum of Understanding made by the Thai government with the foreign government (MoU). The term of employment is for a full four years. This group consists of 119,094 people, and the full two-year employment consists of 315,690 people who have to renew a work permit and request permission to stay in the Kingdom from January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021. If such workers do not request to renew their work permit or obtain a work permit within 30 days from the date of expiration of their work permit, the foreign worker will not be able to perform any further actions and must therefore do the following:
1) The Department of Employment accepts work permit applications to consider allowing foreign workers to work under normal guidelines. Foreign workers must submit a medical certificate to the Department of Employment within six months from the date of work permit issuance. If the foreign worker cannot submit a medical certificate within the specified time, the work permit will be revoked.
2) Extend the period for health check-ups and the process of applying for a temporary stay in the Kingdom for another six months from the original temporary permission of staying in the Kingdom, to conduct a health check and apply for permission to stay in the Kingdom temporarily.
4. Foreign workers, according to the Cabinet’s resolution on December 29, 2020, are required to collect biometrics with the Immigration Office and to be screened for Covid-19 with the Ministry of Public Health by April 16, 2021. If the foreign worker cannot conduct the health check for the six forbidden diseases, they may use the Covid-19 test results for the work permit and send the medical certificate for prohibited diseases to the Department of Employment by October 18, 2021. The foreign worker must create an identification card for non-Thai citizens who have work permits on the card’s back with the Department of Provincial Administration. If the foreigner is with an employer, this process must be completed by December 30, 2021. In the case of a foreigner without an employer, the process must be completed within February 28, 2022, provided that the foreigner must report to the Immigration Office every 90 days from the date they receive the identity card for non-Thai citizens who have a work permit on the back of the card.
Employers/business establishments and foreign workers of Cambodian, Laos, or Myanmar nationality can get more information from the Provincial Employment Office, Employment Office Bangkok Area 1 – 10 or through Line @Service_Workpermit, or the Ministry of Labour’s hotline, tel. 1506 press 2 for the Department of Employment. Services are provided in Cambodian, Myanmar, and English languages, offering recommendations and advice on registering via the online system.
Source: Ministry of Labour