รายงานสถานการณ์ การบริหารจัดการคนต่างชาติในช่วงการแพร่ระบาดของโรคโควิด-19

MWG Sit Rep #2 on Covid 19

16 April 2020

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, MWG has monitored the situation and policies related to migrant workers and families. MWG Sit rep no.2 is focused on service inclusion and sample of labour rights violations. The paper is outlined 1.) Health and emergency need and implication of emergency decree 2.) Visa relief and gaps of inclusion 3.) Relief and Remedy and 4.) Forms of labour violation.  

  1. Workers and Covid 19

There are reported of 14 Myanmar nationality, 1 Lao and 1 Cambodian  as of 15 April 2020. The youngest case is one year old boy and 10 male cases and 16 cases as of 14 April 2020.  Myanmar reports that there are 2 returnees from Thailand tested positive.  The average age is 26.6 years old. Majority of While the MoPH issued the letter to confirm the test and treatment for all but there is no specific guideline on both document and undocumented workers to reimburse the fee from Migrant Health Insurance Fund, Social Security Fund and Health fund for people with legal status issue.

The local administration become actively engaging in Health Promotion and Prevention. However, migrants are not entitled to receive face mask, hand gels and other sanitization kits. Migrant communities/Urban dwelling are not cleaned through the public cleaning campaign.  Many migrant communities are crowded and lack of basic hygiene and impossible to do social distancing. There are chances for Thailand to follow the statistic of Singapore which migrant community becomes the new cluster spreader.

In addition, migrants who are asked to be isolate/quarantine or trapped do not receive the similar assistance from the local administration such as food and non-food item. There are small numbers of workers return from their origin country to Thailand and they are quarantined by the local health volunteers.

Thai governors start exercising the emergency decrees and its effect has increased vulnerability of migrant communities. For example, In Phuket and Phang Nga migrants have left stranded without receiving their monthly payment and severance after their employers terminated their contracts while they are locked down and unable to seek helps. Most workers do not have saving and safety net. Many workers rely on daily income as they have sent remittances back home. Some employers change the working condition and work hours without notifying the labour inspectors. There is no labour inspector and a mediator to negotiate between employer and employee for fair and due process of employment suspension/separation/termination which have the different legal implication. There are common patterns on labour rights violation during the Covid 19 pandemic. Workers are asked to return to the country of origin, to submit resignation letter without any consent, to leave without pay etc. Many employers chose immigration and migrant worker administration to remove workers unlawfully but technically legal. Employers can notify the department of employment to remove the migrant out of employment. Workers will have only 30 days to find the new employer but it is impossible to do so with the current restriction and economic recession. MWG put the detail of some case studies of legal violation on the 3rd section of this sit rep and obstacles to access the .

Some temporary measures of migrants are not yet practical. Workers are still required to conduct 90 days report themselves at the Immigration Office although the immigration office already allow post and online reporting. Before the immigration relief is introduced, workers were approached by the broker for visa stamp and some workers are holding the fraud document.

 

Since the media showed the story of “returned migrants”. The bus public service ban migrants to travel to the border but there were workers renting private vans and attempted to travel to the border. Without the proper remedy, workers may continue to travel intra-province and will affect the measurements  to control population movement. Many workers may decide to return to the country of origin illegally and they will be unable to return to Thailand with their current documents. This will pose challenge for bilateral migration management between two countries. Myanmar media reports that the Border might be re-opening after 15 April. Thai media reports that Thai government will allow Thais to travel back to Thailand via border after 16 April.

Policy Gaps

- No institutional capacity building of MOL to address the migrant workers in crisis despite the lesson learnt from Flood 2014 and Tsunami relief. MOL has collected the fee of work permit but unable to allocate any resource on emergency need.

- No discussion on the long – term responding to the Change of Employment Market. The MoU suspension will affect the flow of workers and many workers are now holding the expired documents.

- The restructure of employment market will require more flexibility of migrant administration. MOL only develops the short-term of extension the documents but this measure will not be enough to address the distorted market.

- The remedy and protection mechanism is not accessible. Please see the table breakdown.

 

  1. Not all migrants receiving the rights to stay แรงงานข้ามชาติในประเทศไทยกับการไม่ได้รับสิทธิอยู่อาศัยชั่วคราวขณะวิกฤติ

MWG estimates that there are about 500,000 workers and family members whose documents are expired/invalid and still remaining in Thailand. Even media outlets reported the massive volume of returness to the origin country but there are still those remain and stranded in Thailand. The most common problems of  worker documentation are included 1.) the change of employer and delay to notify the DoE 2.) Workers who decide not to renew work permit but stranded in Thailand due to border closure 3.) Workers who are unemployed, work suspension, termination of contract 4.) remaining undocumented workers.  MWG has attempted to negotiate with the government and file the competition letter to urge the immigration grant amnesty for all in according to the article 54, Immigration Act.  This measure will relief the pressure of workers to travel across the province in order to reach the border. The Cabinet measures only grant automatic visa extension and major number of migrants are still in the legal limbo.  

MWG has broken down the legal measures and gap toward category of document holders  as detail breaks down below.

Document types

Policy in short description

Number

Relief measures

Rights to stay

Gap of policies

Name list applicant

The Pink Card Holders who documents were expired on 31 March 2020 ( Total estimated number)

1,739,908 คน[1]

 

Cabinet approved the extension period to process documents until 30 November but their employers must submit the application of document renewal

Extend period to stay until 30 November

 

No policy to handle the undocumented workers and workers with expired documents

Name list applicants ( workers

1,266,351 workers (213,461 Cambodians, 50,581 Laotians,  1,002,309 Myanmars)

Period of extension is until 30 Nov

 

Some of them not yet access the social security fund

Major number health insurance is already expired on 31 March and not able to renew it.

Completing Pink card holders

760,837

If they are SSO member, they can access the Social Security Fund  

 

Major number of workers have been member of SSO less than 6 months

Not eligible for SSO remedy

Fishery workers ( Pink Card article 83)

12,040

 

Staying in Thailand until 30 September 2020

Not access the remedy plan and gaps of Labour protection act

MOU workers from 3 countries

MOU workers whose visa is already or about to be expired

44,222

Staying and working till the notified date

Extending visa until 30 April or further date in accordance with the Emergency Decree

There is no clear measurement to remediate workers for changing employers if the business owners suspend or terminate contract before the end date.

Total number of MoU workers from three countries

1,005,848

 

 

 

Border workers ( article 64)

64,364

Staying and working till the notified date

Extending visa until 30 April or further date in accordance with the Emergency Decree

Not covered by remedy under Social Security Fund

Fishery workers

New round of article 83 fishery worker registration

NA

Cabinet already approved the MOL proposal to allow the registration of fishery workers in according to article 83 of Fishery Regulation.

1 years after visa stamp and issuance of Seaman book

Not yet specify the period and procedure of registration

 

  1. Remedy and Protection

Worker category

Condition

Benefits

 

Barriers to access

Responsible agencies

Temporary workers

Informal workers

Being member of Social Security less than 6 months 

Must have Thai nationality and online registration

5,000 THB *3 months

Limited by Nationality even some migrants have been member of SSO less than 6 months.

Ministry of Finances

SSO Members for more than 6 month

 Termination of contract)

70 % wage not more than 6 months

 

 1.Most workers are eligible to be the members of SSO but there are many employers do not apply SSO for workers. Lack of compliance is the main challenge.

2. Workers do not access information on how to claim their rights

3. Online application is only available in Thai or English/ Unfriendly services.

4. Workers are unable to seek help at the SSO office or use Hotline in Thai language.

5. Employers sough the unnecessarily evidence to support migrant’s application even it is not related to the benefits.

6. Many employers intend to terminate the contract and push the workers out of the areas. There are tactics to threaten the workers not to lodge the complaint.

 

Social Security Fund

 

resignation and unemployed status)

45%  of wage not over 3 months.

Same as above

 

 

 

 

Temporary suspend the work- Employers ask workers for 14 days self-quarantine

62% of Daily wage

Employer must fill the online form and leaving the burden to file complaint against the employer through the Department of Labour Welfare and Protection

 

 

Suspended by the government order

SSO pays for 50 % of Daily wage

The benefits does not include workers in supply chain. MWG received the complaint from laundry company which is unable to operate due to the closing of hotel. However, they can not claim the benefits of suspension.

 

Measurements under the Labour Protection Act

The employer suspend the work ( article 75).

Worker receive 75% of salary and the employer must notify the DLPW

  1. Employers use tactic to push workers to submit resignation letter in order to avoid legal liability.
  2. Not access to inspector and negotiator
  3. Immigration statuses are used to coerce workers not to complain.

Department of Labour Protection and Welfare Promotion

 

Termination of contract

  1. >120 days<1 year to receive 30 days of severance pay
  2. > 1 years< 3 years to receive 90 days of severance pay
  3. > 3 years< 6 years to receive 180 days of severance pay
  4.  > 10 years< 20 years to receive 300 days of severance pay
  5. >20 years to receive 400 days of severance pay

Lodging the Kor Lor 7 Electronically

  1. Online application of Kor Lor 7 is in Thai.
  2. Worker must file complaint by themsale. It is impossible for migrants to submit the file in Thai.
  3. Require 13 civil digit number for verification
  4. Popping up threatening message to take legal action against for false report
  5. Unable to track progress against the complaint

 

 

DLPW website

Filling the contact and waiting for return.

MWG conducted the test case and no further assistance. The local DLPW called MWG member and ask us to re-do the Online complaint mechanism

 

 

  1. Case studies of Labour Rights violation

MWG has received the complaint from MWG members and document some patterns of labour violations and took some cases to file the application.

Case 1: A female worker had been worked with the employer for more than a year but just recently joined the Social Security Fund for 2 months and unable to claim the unemployment benefits of Social Security Fund.

A female workers age 30 years old had worked with the same employer since 2016 but her employer recently applied the Social Security Fund in February 2020. In March 2020, employer decided to close the business and informed the worker to receive only half salary. Workers should be entitled for severance payment and unemployment benefits. However, she does not meet the criteria of Social Security Fund on the period of being member of the fund. Even Thai law is mentioned that all employer must register and submit their employees’ Social Security Fund application within 30 days from the first  date of employment but the Social Security Fund office has not taken any proactive approach to fact finding the case and similar cases and not granted the unemployment benefits to the workers even it is the employer who avoids the legal obligation.

Case 2: Waitress and waiters at the BBQ restaurant which is suspended by the Provincial Governor directive.

The BBQ restaurant employed 20-23 workers and paid daily wage. Non of workers are members of Social Security Fund although employers must submit the social security fund application to all workers. On 23 March, the provincial governor ordered all restaurants and night entertainment venues to be closed until further notice. The employer informed workers that employer will not pay any salary but will provide food and accommodation. Workers are not able to claim the benefits of unemployment and do not want to file the complaint as they are relying on employers.

Case 3: Workers in food export company.

This food processing company employed more than 160 workers and the company decided to suspend the operation for 60 days. The employer only paid 15 days of wage. 60 Myanmar MOU workers decided to leave the country as they felt unfair to be paid unlawful wage. Workers want to apply the SSO benefit of unemployment but the employer refused to issue the certifying letter.

Case 4: Contract termination in Furniture factory

On 13 March 2020, the furniture making company informed 49 workers to work until 31 March 2020 however, the company notified the Department of Employment to remove 49 workers of the employment list although The company did not inform workers about the Employment list ( Employer quota). Workers will have only 15 days to find a new employer if they want to continue living in Thailand. The employer refused to pay severance to the workers and the employer. All worker’s travel documents are kept by the employer as they are on process to renew the document. Workers paid 12,500 THB/person for the document fee and broker processing fee. When workers applied the unemployment benefit, the SSO informed that employer has not notify the termination with SSO. Workers are concerned to file the complaint as the employer may revoke their work permit and not return the travel document. There is no link of SSO database and Employment database.

 

 

[1] The original registration numbers of the group and there are only 1,266,351 of 1,739,908 continue the renewal of work permit