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Foreign labour cap set at 20% under new law

A new law to take effect on July 1 will cap the number of migrant workers which companies and industries can hire at 20% to protect Thai labourers as the government moves to free up skill shortages in some areas while also ensuring foreigners do not force Thais out of work.

The act on the management of migrant labour, passed by the National Legislative Assembly in April, will cover all migrant labourers no matter whether they are hired in Thailand under a government MoU or not. The bill will fix the number of foreign employees at 20% in the industry and services sector.

This is to ensure Thai labourers remain relevant in these occupations, a source from the Ministry of Labour said. Section 11 of the act says the Department of Employment will compile job-seeking registration from all Thai nationals who wish to work.

Employers who wish to employ foreign workers despite the availability of Thai jobseekers who are capable of doing the same job must cap their foreign employment at only 20% of total staff. if the number of workers exceeds five, special fees will be levied if firms wish to exceed the 20% limit.

No detail was available on the types of jobs or the rate of the fees. The Office of the Management of Foreign Workers" Employment Fund will work with various labour agencies and the private sector on the fee.

The fund will continue to decide which jobs must be exclusive to Thais, and which jobs can be performed by both domestic and foreign labour.

Currently, migrant workers are banned from working in 39 occupations under a 1979 royal decree relating to occupations and professions which bans foreigners in such roles. Under MOUs with Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar, workers from these countries can be granted exceptions.



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