PM urges measures to soften strict new punishments on illegal foreign workers
The Ministry of Labor announced new penalties for illegal workers and employers who hire illegal workers last week. If an employer employs a foreigner to work at a forbidden position, the employer is fined with 400,000-800,000 Baht per employed foreigner. If an employer allows a foreigner to work in excess of the work stipulated in the work permit he is fined with not more than 400,000 Baht per 1 employed foreigner. If a foreigner works without having a work permit or work at a forbidden position, he/she is imprisoned not more than 5 years, fined with 2,000-100,000 Baht or both. If a foreigner works on an urgent and essential nature work without acknowledgment of the officer (form WP-10), he is fined with not more than 100,000 Baht. If a foreigner works in excess of the work as described in the work permit, can face prison of not more than 6 months and fines of not more than 100,000 Baht or both. If a person works as an agent stating that he/she can bring a foreigner to work with a domestic employer without a work permit that person will face imprisonment of 3-10 years, fines of 600,000-1,000,000 Baht, or both. Any person operating as a foreigner job agency without a license is imprisoned for 1-3 years, fines of 200,000-600,000 Baht, or both. Additionally the Ministry added a supplementary regulation requiring employers to take responsibility for repatriating their migrant workers upon the end of employment and to report that to the government. The Ministry said the rule will ensure the government will have up to date information on migrant workers and give legal migrant workers more freedom to work in areas provided with their work permits. The Prime Minister has urged the Ministry to come up with urgent measures to soften the decree as key industries such as construction and SMEs will face serious labor shortages and could see an impact on the economy.
Exports grew strongly in May up 13.2 percent from the same period last year to US$9.9 billion (676 billion baht), the highest in more than four years. Exporters had been worried about the stronger baht but the rise was driven by strong demand for rubber, sugar, rice, vegetables and fresh fruit especially durian which jumped 15.9 percent year on year. Agriculture and agribusiness exports grew 17.6 percent year on year while industrial exports including processed rubber, automobiles, electric circuits, computers and components grew 12.8 percent year on year. In the first five months of 2017 exports rose 7.2 percent to US$93.26 billion, while imports increased by 15.2 percent to US$88.21 billion giving the country a trade surplus of US$5.05 billion for the period.
The Thai and Malaysian governments have increased the hours the Sadao Border Checkpoint is open to 5 am -11 pm on the Thai side and from 6 am to midnight on the Malaysian side. The two governments are investigating opening the checkpoint 24 hours a day 7 days a week to ease the congestion of trucks and visitors passing through the checkpoint. Sadao is the busiest checkpoint with 98 percent of all Thai – Malaysian border trade passing through the checkpoint. The report on the issues facing opening the checkpoint 24 hours a day will be issued next month and should address measures provinces and businesses will have to take.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) expects the total number of foreign visitors to reach 34 million in 2017 as strong growth in the first half is expected to continue in the second half. The first half of 2017 saw the number of foreign visitors to Thailand hit 17.2 million, a 4 percent increase year on year. Tourist arrivals for the month of May reached 2.59 million, a 4.6 percent increase compared to April. Tourism revenue grew 6.1 percent during the first five months of the year compared to the same period last year, reaching 382 million baht.
The government announced that there will be no prohibition on entertainment activities during the period when Royal cremation ceremonies will be taking place but asked that b