Bangladesh eyed to fill labour gap

The Labour Ministry is ready to import Bangladeshi labourers to work in the fishing industry if there is still a worker shortage following registrations of migrant workers from three neighbouring countries.

Permanent secretary for labour Jeerasak Sukhonthachart yesterday said Bangladesh's ambassador to Thailand Kazi Imtiaz Hossain recently met him to bid farewell as the ambassador's four-year term ends this month.

During the meeting, Mr Hossain expressed concern over labour shortages in Thailand and asked about progress in the two nations' cooperation in importing Bangladeshi workers, said Mr Jeerasak.

He said the ministry was surveying projected migrant worker demand over the next four years for all industries. The survey was expected to finish in 1-2 months. The ministry would then await worker registrations from three countries — Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.

If there is still a shortage, workers will be imported and Bangladesh will be the main target, he said.

Migrant worker registration is part of the National Council for Peace and Order's plans to end human trafficking and labour shortages.

Thailand signed memorandums of understanding (MoU) on migrant labour employment with Bangladesh and Vietnam in 2012. As there will be a new cabinet, the ministry will consider the issue again, he said.

Bangladesh and Vietnam have shown interest in sending workers to Thailand. Vietnam has eyed the construction and service sectors, while Bangladesh would send their workers into the fishing industry.

The policy committee on migrant labour and human trafficking management had asked each province to check its readiness for worker registration.

Worker registrations from Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia will end on Aug 15. One-stop service centres will open in another 53 provinces nationwide to register migrants.

The Employment Department's director-general Sumet Mahosot yesterday said 424,494 migrant workers and their dependents had registered at 34 one-stop service centres in 33 provinces as of Wednesday.

Among those centres, four are in provinces bordering Cambodia; one is in Samut Sakhon; eight (one per province) are in Chachoengsao, Chon Buri, Ayutthaya, Rayong, Songkhla, Samut Prakan and Surat Thani; and six in Bangkok.

The 15 other centres (one per province) are in Krabi, Chanthaburi, Chumphon, Trang, Trat, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Pattani, Phangnga, Phetchaburi, Phuket, Ranong, Satun and Samut Songkram.

Samut Sakhon employment office chief Suwan Duangta yesterday said 553 employers took 2,719 migrant workers to register at the one-stop service centre there on Wednesday. The migrants included 1,722 Myanmar nationals, 636 Cambodians and 361 Lao nationals. Those workers also had 277 dependents who were also registered.

Since the opening of the centre from June 30 to Wednesday, a total of 65,811 migrant workers were registered in the province, said Mr Suwan.

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