In the picturesque district of Mae Sot, Tak, a striking scene unfolds. Myanmar workers diligently file in to submit their visa applications at the Tak Immigration Office. This imagery captured last year is a testament to the changing tides of labor dynamics in Thailand. But the tide has shifted once again.
On a recent Tuesday, the Ministry of Interior in Thailand sprang a revelation that sparked waves of relief among migrant workers from Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. These laborers previously granted temporary stay and work permissions have now been offered an extension of stay. And it’s not only a chance to extend their visas, but also their pursuit of ambition, as work permit applications are being processed simultaneously.
The secretary to the Interior Minister, Traisuree Taisaranakul, unveiled that two new announcements were issued on this matter, introducing a special provision for the migrant workers from the aforementioned countries. This provision permits them not only to extend their stay, but also to uphold their right to work within Thailand’s vibrant economy.
This legislative leap dates back to Oct 1, with backward effect. It affects those workers from the four Southeast Asian nations who had successfully carved out a life in Thailand under a directive made earlier in July. Now, they can continue this life, work, and all, until Sept 30.
What’s even better, the continuation does not stop there. This specific consortium of industrious migrants can push further, extending their stay and employment until Jan 20, 2024. In parallel, their employers’ applications for legal authorization enabling them to live and work in Thailand until Feb 13, 2025, will be run through the bureaucratic rigors.
As if that wasn’t good news enough! The underage offsprings of these migrant workers will be automatically included in the stay. The ones stepping into adulthood, they’ll have a two-month grace period from their 18th birthday to apply for a work permit. Hence, ensuring a seamless transition to a secure livelihood.
The second ministerial announcement, effective from the same Tuesday, paints an inclusive picture for a different cohort of migrant workers hailing from Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. These workers, currently residing under an accord sealed between the governments of these countries, have been assigned a different set of rules.
Termed the “tri-nation MoU migrant workers,” their four-year permission to live and work in Thailand, coming to a close on Dec 31, gets a new lease of life until April 30, 2024. However, to validate their work status beyond Jan 1, 2024, until April 30, their employers must step up and submit a work permit application.
For those resilient enough to stay on and continue working past April 30 the following year, their resilience will be rewarded. Their employer will be called upon to put forth a new request for their continued stay and work, ensuring a future that keeps brimming with opportunities.