Labour Ministry spokesman Ananchai Uthaipatanacheep added that Ith had agreed to consider opening up nationality-verification centres in Thailand for Cambodian migrants.
“He has said he will discuss the matter with relevant officials in Cambodia,” Ananchai said.
If Cambodia agrees to open such centres, it will be the second country to have arranged similar services in the wake of Thailand’s Executive Decree on Foreign Workers Management.
This week, Myanmar confirmed that it will set up six temporary centres to verify Myanmar migrants in Thailand. Sirichai will soon head to Vientiane to discuss the issue with the Lao government.
Taking effect from June 23, the executive decree has caused a stir. As the new law prescribes harsh punishments against illegal workers and their employers, thousands of migrants have left Thailand lately, affecting various businesses.
Because of the confusion and panic, Thai authorities decided to grant a grace period until the end of this year.
On Thursday, just 1,869 workers crossed the border back to Myanmar via Tak’s Mae Sot district, compared to between 4,500 and 6,000 a day earlier.
Millions of workers from neighbouring countries work in Thailand, many illegally.
Sirichai said that after he talked to his Lao counterpart, between July 10 and 11, he expected clearer guidelines would be issued to facilitate the legalisation of migrant workers.
Sirichai has already signed a ministerial regulation on how migrant workers can obtain work permits.
The process involving Thai authorities is now clearer. Migrants holding passports, temporary passports, travel documents, or a certificate of identity with visas, but having no work permit, can apply for a work permit at the employment office in the province in which they are now working. The work permit will be issued and valid until March 31, 2018.
Migrants who no longer work for the same employer named at the time their temporary work permit was issued can contact Thai authorities to register their new employers too.
Ananchai said that employers of migrants who do not have identification documents can register them with the temporary migrant worker registration centres that are going to operate in Thailand between July 24 and August 7.
“Upon registration, they will get the letter of demand that can help their workers process their nationality verification at relevant centres,” he said.
For Myanmar migrants, there will be six temporary verification centres in Thailand in the near future: two based in Samut Sakhon province, one in Samut Prakan province, and another in Ranong province, another in Tak province and the other in Chiang Rai province.
Migrant workers who receive a passport, a temporary passport, or a certificate of identity, will have to contact immigration offices in their province to get a visa. The visa fee is Bt500 and is valid until March 31, 2018. After the workers get the visa, their employers must contact provincial immigration offices again, this time with their workers to apply for work permits.
When receiving a work permit, migrant workers will be required to undergo a health check and buy health insurance for a Bt1,600 fee.
If Cambodian and Lao governments agree to set up nationality-verification centres in Thailand, migrants will have no need to return to their home country. However, if the centres are not open here, they will be given the necessary documents to make the trip back to their home country, have their nationality verified, and come back.