Cabinet allows foreign migrant workers to return homes to celebrate Songkran festival during April 5-30

Migrant workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia who are legally working in Thailand and hold “pink cards” will be able to return to their home countries to celebrate the Songkran festival during April 5-30 without being charged exit fees on the condition that they must return to Thailand within April 30.

Colonel Athisit Chainuwat, assistant spokesman of the Prime Minister’s Office, said that the reprieve which was endorsed by the cabinet on Tuesday was intended to allow the legal migrant workers as well as their dependents who are not over 18 years of age to celebrate Songkran festival in their home countries and will be exempted from paying departure fees which are normally charged when travelling out of the country.

The cabinet also agreed to extend the registration period for foreign migrant workers from the three neighbouring countries to June 30 instead of March 31 as there are still about 880,000 workers who are yet to be registered.

According to the statistics of the Labour Ministry, there are about 1.6 million foreign migrant workers from Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia in Thailand and, of these, only 820,000 have already registered.

Colonel Athisit said that officials concerned would not be able to meet the March 31 deadline to register all the remaining 880,000 migrant workers as the registration process such as medical examinations and the issuance of medical certificates would take between 3-5 days.

However, the workers must apply for registration with OSS centres within March 31 after which they will be issued with a document from the officials concerned so that they carry on with the remaining process later on until June 30 which will be the final deadline, said the colonel.