Thailand to slash cost of migrant permit

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Myanmar migrant workers check and fold fishing nets after they unload the catch at the fishing port on Si Rae island, off Phuket, southern Thailand, June 13, 2009. Photo: Barbara Walton/EPA

Thailand’s cabinet has issued a ministerial regulation to reduce the migrant permit fee to only 500 Thai baht, down from the current rate of 2,000 baht, reports The Nation.

The fee was related to the Thai Interior Ministry’s previous announcement that migrant workers from the three countries of Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, including fishery workers, should obtain temporary permits to stay in Thailand and undergo nationality identification, according to the newspaper.

Over 2 million Myanmar workers are estimated to work legally or illegally in Thailand largely in fishing, construction, factories and as maids.

A Prime Minister’s Office spokesperson said the Cabinet approved an Interior Ministry proposal for a reduced fee, but this would first be submitted for the Council of State to consider before it is implemented.

The Thai authorities believe a reduced fee will serve as an incentive to have migrant workers enter the system for better supervision and help tackle issues of migrant worker exploitation, illegal workers and negligence in helping them access labour welfare, according to the report.