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Thai migrant visas extended through July

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The Thai government has extended the stay for migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar until July 31, according to a statement released by Thailand’s public relations department on Friday.

“The decision aims to prevent labour shortages and support economic revival after the situation has improved, and helps to prevent the spread of the Covid-19,” the statement said.

It said the decision was made by the Thai Cabinet at a June 2 meeting following a proposal by the Ministry of Labour.

Before the extension, the migrant workers were legally supposed to have left Thailand by June 1.

The extension applies to workers with work permits issued under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on labour issues, and Cambodian and Myanmar workers who carry a border passes per Section 64 of the Thai law.

“After July 31, foreign workers must leave the Kingdom [of Thailand] within the period set in the announcement of the Ministry of Interior. Violators will face legal action,” the statement said.

Executive director for the Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights (Central) Moeun Tola said on Sunday that migrant workers with expired visas will have them extended automatically. The extension will be granted only for those who migrated to work in Thailand legally.

The Thai government has extended the country’s lockdown until the end of June.

Tola said Thai authorities will give migrant workers some extra time to renew their visas beyond July 31 before facing fines or deportation.

He said there are about two million Cambodia migrant workers in Thailand, 20 per cent of whom are undocumented.

Cambodian Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman Heng Sour could not be reached for comment.

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