Thailand extends contracts of over 200,000 migrant workers

The Thai Cabinet's recent decision to extend employment contracts for over 200,000 migrant workers has eased concerns about a domestic labour shortage.
Thailand extends contracts of over 200,000 migrant workers (Photo:
Thailand extends contracts of over 200,000 migrant workers (Photo:

Poj Aramwattananont, Vice Chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce and President of the Labour and Skill Development Committee, said based on discussions held with the chamber and the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), the cabinet approved an MoU on foreign workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar; and an agreement on foreign workers from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

The approval was based on a cabinet resolution from July 5, 2022 and another dated February 7, 2023.

According to government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri, the move is intended to reinforce economic security. The extension applies to migrant workers who arrived under labour- related MoUs signed by governments. However, Anucha said that the cabinet changed its mind and approved the extension as the lingering uncertainty over the government's formation threatens to leave a huge labour vacuum.

The cabinet previously rejected the ministry's request for an extension, fearing it would create a burden of responsibility on the new government.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, without the extension, the migrant workers would have had to return home and wait until a new government took power before they could come back to resume their employment in Thailand.

Meanwhile, Poj acknowledged that Thailand is facing structural problems, with severe shortages in both the quantity and quality of labour, especially in tourism, service, construction and real estate, food processing and small business. These sectors have a high demand for a large number of workers to support the country's economic growth post pandemic.