The Thai labour department has approved a scheme allowing migrant workers from Burma and other neighbouring countries to extend their labour cards at 7-Eleven stores across the Kingdom.
Foreign workers will be able to skip the queues at overcrowded immigration offices under the new initiative, after the Thailand’s Department of Employment signed an agreement with Counter Service Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of the firm that operates 7-Eleven in the country.
According to a report by the Thai daily Thai Rath, the company’s deputy CEO said he expects at least half of all migrant workers in the country to use the new service.
Some three million foreign nationals from neighbouring Laos, Cambodia and Burma make up the majority of the low-paid migrant worker sector in Thailand.
Arak Prommanee, the director-general of the employment department, said the scheme was designed to simplify the process for both workers and their employers, eliminating the need to pay “agents” to submit the paperwork on behalf of the worker.
Workers will be required to present a medical report from the hospital, confirming their good health. After payment, they will receive a receipt and appointment to pick up their renewed labour cards at a local immigration office.
Migrants extending their cards will need to front up 1,910 baht (US$54) in total – 1,800 baht for the two-year permit, a 100-baht application fee, and a 10 baht surcharge for making the payment at 7-Eleven. The service will be available 24 hours a day.
The new scheme comes off the back of the Thai employment department’s recommendation for the current “pink card” migrant worker programme to be extended by two years, after an official expiration date of 31 March.
The programme only benefits foreign workers who have undergone a nationality verification process.