Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s official visit to Saudi Arabia has reopened opportunities for Thai workers in the Mideast country, government deputy spokeswoman Ratchada Dhnadirek said.
Ms Ratchada was speaking after the meeting on Tuesday between Thai Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin and Ahmad bin Sulaiman Alrajhi, the Saudi minister of human resources and social development, at Al-Yamamah Palace.
The two ministers discussed cooperation in the field of labour between the two countries.
Ahmad bin Sulaiman Alrajhi informed Mr Suchart that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had instructed the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development to find skilled workers – with the target set at 8 million.
Saudi Arabia wants cooperation with Thailand to start as soon as possible, especially to find skilled workers in the service industry, hotels and health, and construction of mega-projects, all of which Thailand has the potential to provide, the Saudi minister said.
Mr Suchart thanked the Saudi minister, saying the visit had reopened opportunities for Thai workers in Saudi Arabia.
Thailand has a strong labour force with the potential to meet Saudi requirements, he said The Labour Ministry’s Department of Skill Development could train workers in the various fields to meet Saudi needs.
Thailand also has reliable job placement firms, properly registered with the Labour Ministry, Mr Suchart said.
In response, the Saudi minister said his country maintained high standards in providing foreign workers a good quality of life and welfare.
He said Saudi Arabia operated an e-contract programme aimed at maintaining workers’ rights and reducing conflict between employees and employers.
Saudi Arabia also had a labour mobility initiative programme to give workers freedom of movement and create flexibility, efficiency and competition in the labour market.
Ms Ratchada said the two sides agreed to expedite cooperation as Saudi Arabia had many construction and development projects in need of workers.
Saudi Arabia was once a major destination for Thai workers.
Things turned bad for them when Saudi Arabia downgraded relations with Thailand in a diplomatic row over the theft of jewellery from the royal palace in 1989 by Thai worker Kriengkrai Techamong and murder of Saudi diplomats in Bangkok. One particular gem, termed the 50-carat “blue diamond”, remains unrecovered