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Thailand Cracking Down on Foreigners Working Illegally

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing foreigners working illegally here in the Kingdom of Thailand and the thing to take away from this video is Thai Officials, both Immigration Officials as well as the Labour Department, as well as just general law enforcement, take the issue of foreigners working illegally in Thailand very, very seriously. 

The Thai system has sometimes described as being protectionist with respect to its indigenous labour force. I don't think that that that adjectives is too far off the mark. I think it implies a little bit more hostility than actually exists there but Thailand takes protection of its internal economy really, really seriously and it takes threats to its economy not lightly.  They really don't mess around with that. 

In a recent article from The Chiang Rai Times, that’s the chiangraitimes.com; the article is titled: Over 1800 Foreigners Arrested for Working Illegally in Thailand. Quoting directly: "Employment Department Director-general  Phetcharat Sin-auy said a total of 1,819 foreigners have been arrested throughout the country from last October until this month for allegedly doing jobs which are legally prohibited to them and only reserved for Thais. Of that total, 1,518 foreigners have already been deported to their home country."  Quoting further: "Occupations legally denied to foreigners include food vendors, peddlers, employees at karaoke lounges, employees at traditional Thai massage parlors, taxi motorcyclists, hairdressers, shoemakers, security guards, masons and carpenters." and that is not an exclusive list. I urge those who are watching this video to go read that article. There is more in there. That list is not exclusive. There is a list of restricted occupations that goes even further. 

The thing to take away from this video is I have sort of been waiting for the other shoe to drop on this.  Immigration sort of was taking the lead with respect to enforcement and inspection activities in order to ferret out folks that were operating in violation of Thai Immigration law and often times sort of inadvertently or tangentially, they would come upon people who are actually violating labour law and those folks would sort of collaterally have problems. I thought some time ago and I think moving forward, Thai Labour is probably going to start taking a cue from Immigration if you will, taking a page from their book, and the Thai Immigration or the Thai Labour office is probably going to start and we know this anecdotally, we have seen them do some expect inspections here in Bangkok. Clearly they are not messing around. They have apprehended 1,800 people and deported 1,500 people and change, over the past roughly less than a year. I think it is fairly safe to presume that this will continue and if anything can be learned from the way that Immigration has evolved in their activities lo these past 18 to 24 months, I think it is fairly safe to presume that Labour Department will become more assiduous in determining whether or not individuals have a work permit who are working in Thailand. 

So exactly how this plays out remains to be seen but I think it is fairly safe to presume, especially in light of the past that we have seen with Thai Immigration that Labour Department inspections and enforcement and scrutiny may increase as time goes on.