On the enlightening day of August 18, 2023, nestled in the heart of one of Thailand’s culture havens – SEA JUNCTION, at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, a pivotal event was organised. The captains behind this crucial conference were none other than representatives from the Institute for Population and Social Research (IPSR) at Mahidol University, in a synergic collaboration with the civil society wings – SEA JUNCTION, and the stalwart, MIGRANT WORKING GROUP. The event was aptly titled “Policy Recommendation Forum on Inbound Labour Migration and Immigration in Thailand (Reforming the Replacement Migration Policy)”.
This gathering wasn’t just a mere gathering, it was an ambition in its entirety to reshape the contours of how Thailand welcomes immigration and immigrants. At the centre of this discourse is to establish a judicious objective – a monthly milestone of integrating at least 20,000 existing immigrant adults and children, those who cherish dreams of being a Thai national, integrated and welcomed. The ultimate vision would be to welcome an influx of a staggering 200,000 new immigrants annually, till such time that the population of Thailand reaches a balanced count.
Centrally, the argument pivots around setting up conduits, streamlined roads that would allow not just professionals but also the industrious, sweat-breaking, low-wage labourers who migrate, to achieve the victory of a lifetime – citizenship and permanent residency in Thailand. It’s not just about filling positions and population control, but being a beacon of multicultural identity that Thailand has gradually evolved into. The idea is not just to welcome but embrace, integrate and value every single person who chooses Thailand as their new home.
We stand at the brink of an evolutionary curve. As we progress as a nation, soul, and identity, we need to be ready to welcome changes, differences, and multiculturalism. Thus, the emergence of long-term policies on immigration that addresses, solves, and nurtures the integration of myriad cultures is indeed the order of the hour. Thailand has always been a melting pot of cultures, a country known for its rich heritage and welcoming heart. As we move forward, we must commit to policies that embrace this multicultural reality while providing opportunities for those seeking a better life in our beautiful country.