Thailand to allow grace period for migrant workers hinh anh 1Passengers seen wearing masks in Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Thailand's Bangkok. (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand is considering to allow migrant workers whose employment expires starting next month to remain in the country instead of having to return to their home countries to re-apply for employment from there.

The decision to allow the grace period, reached by the migrant workers' policy management committee chaired by Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin on October 6, was intended to stave off the spread of COVID-19.

The minister was quoted by local media as saying that if the migrant workers return to their home countries after having worked in Thailand for four years, as required under the memorandum of understanding signed between the government and those of respective countries, they might seek to come back to resume their employment.

This raises concerns about them contracting the virus while waiting to get back and bringing the virus with them when they return, said Suchart.

There is a real risk of imported infections triggering a second outbreak wave, he added.

Although Suchart did not say how long the grace period will last, he made it clear the issue will be proposed for the cabinet to consider in due course.

Eligible for the grace period are migrant workers whose four-year employment contracts end starting from next month until the end of December next year.

He added that for the migrant workers, returning to their countries and re-applying for jobs from there while also being subject to anti-virus measures including the 14-day quarantine at both ends would incur costs so steep that it would make such trips unaffordable and impractical.

Altogether 131,587 migrant workers from Myanmar, Lao and Cambodia will see their working permits expire between next month and December next year, according to the Labour Ministry./.