New regulations for migrant workers delayed 6 months
The Prime Minister reiterated the need for new regulations that require foreign migrant workers have proper documentation verifying their nationality before entering the country and being employed. However, the government has extended the grace period until the end of 2017 so that the economy is not damaged by a labor shortage and workers have time to get the paperwork sorted out. The Prime Minister emphasized that Thailand does need migrant workers but that they need protection and that the country needs to eliminate human trafficking. He stated the Ministry of Labor has been instructed to come up with guidelines and open special offices to handle migrant workers working in small businesses during the transition. Thailand and Myanmar government officials have met to discuss the need for Myanmar to speed up the verification process and issuance of certificates of identity. They have agreed to set up a joint working committee to handle any problems that may arise during the 6 month grace period.
Passenger traffic through Thailand’s airports grew 7.71 percent in the first five months of the year compared to the same period last year. A total of 56.2 million passengers passed through Airports of Thailand owned airports from January to May; international passenger traffic rose 5.86 percent to 31.7 million and domestic numbers jumped 10.2 percent to 24.5 million. Hat Yai Airport registered a 15.5 percent increase, up to 1.87 million people while Chiang Rai jumped 22.2 percent more passengers handling 1.03 million. Phuet came third in growth at 9.22 percent or 7.27 million while Chiang Mai came fourth at 9.03 percent growth and 4.27 million passengers. Rounding at the list were Don Mueang at 8.06 percent growth or 15.9 million and Suvarnabhumi at 5.86 percent or 25.8 million passengers.
Chiang Rai is expected to see even further growth as three airlines are adding direct flights to China in July. Sichuan Airlines is opening direct flights three times a week this month between Chiang Rai and Chengdu, while Loong Air will start flights twice a week to Hangzhou on July 15. NewGen, Thailand’s largest China focused charter operator, has booked 10 charter flights between Chiang Rai and Zhengzhou during July and August. Thai Lion Air will operate 12 charter flights between Chiang Rai and Hubei during July and August and will start charter services to Guangzhou in September. Beijing Capital Airlines started direct flights to Haikou in March while Hong Kong Express added flights to Hong Kong last year. The airport is undergoing an upgrade that will be in 3 phases over the next 14 years for 6.3 billion baht and will add more aprons to raise its capacity from being able to handle 3 million passengers a year to 3.3 million.