Monday, March 3, 2014

Myanmar visa overstay eased

Myanmar visa overstay eased 
 Published: 4 Mar 2014 at 06.44 
Newspaper section: News

Authorities are softening their stance against Myanmar labourers who overstay their working visas pending the new government's policy.
Department of Employment director-general Prawit Khiengpol addressed the issue as he met representatives of the Immigration Bureau and the Royal Thai Police Office (RTPO) on Monday. 

Referring to Myanmar workers whose four-year working visas have expired, Mr Prawit said the matter is neither the fault of the labourers nor their employers.
The workers must submit their work documents to provincial employment offices to ask for visa extensions, he said. They will not face charges despite overstaying.
The department will ask the Immigration Bureau and the RTPO not to arrest them, and this will be a temporary measure pending the new administration, he said.
Authorities will also consider reducing punishments for those who overstay from the current fine which can range from 500 baht to 20,000 baht per day. The measure would help solve the problems affecting alien workers and their employers, Mr Prawit said.
The measures will be carried out pending the formation of a new government which will be asked to amend the memorandum of understanding, which forces alien workers whose four-year work contracts have expired to return to their home countries for at least three years before renewing their applications, he said.
The new cabinet will be asked to shorten that three-year hiatus, said Mr Prawit.
Once the new government sets its policy, foreign workers can file requests to renew their visas, he said.
Mr Prawit said the department opened one-stop service centres in Tak's Mae Sot district, Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district and Ranong province for foreign workers seeking work here.
The centres will also service the nationality verification process for those in need.
The Labour Ministry plans to ask for cabinet approval to extend stay periods for those who come to work on a daily basis from seven days, and those who work in agriculture in border provinces.
Their stay period could be extended to three months, and those workers must undergo medical checks and be entitled to health insurance, Mr Prawit said.
He also said the meeting discussed documentation proceedings in the fishery sector for over 22 seaside provinces which will apply to May 1. Employers must take their workers to the registration, or else...
Poj Aramwattananont, Thai Chamber of Commerce director, said the business sector is satisfied with the measures, which will do until the next government takes shape. 
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