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Migrant crackdown causing Thai labour shortage

Businesspeople in western Thailand’s Tak Province are lamenting the regional government’s crackdown on undocumented Burmese migrants, saying it is causing a labour shortage in their factories.

Chairperson of the Federation of Thai Industries Chaiwat Withitthammawong on 6 May visited the Royal Thai Army’s 4th Regional Command in Mae Sot, along with representatives of the Thai Agricultural Product Sellers Association.

During the meeting, they requested assistance in solving the labour shortage that they say has been caused by a crackdown on migrant workers, which is forcing the migrants to move to other provinces.

“As the migrants are moving further into the country, we are now facing a labour shortage in the border province, and we aren’t able to meet the deadlines for manufacturing orders,” Chaiwat told reporters at the scene.

“We welcome the attempt to fight human trafficking, and vow to ensure there is no exploitation of migrant workers in the industry,” he said.


The factory owners handed a letter to military officials requesting an easing on the arrests of migrant workers in the province, and instead issuing them with labour ID cards.

The military unit’s Dep-Com Maj. Supachote Tawatpirachai accepted the letter and said that he would raise their demands with Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, and suggest a temporary suspension of the crackdown operation. He also said he would support the implementation of the Labour Act’s Section 14 – to hire daily cross-border migrants – and Section 17, to permit a quota of migrant employees.

Thai authorities have recently launched a labour ID scheme for migrant fishery workers in an attempt to clean up the industry amid international pressure.


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