The Ministry of Labour aims to send 100,000 Thai labourers overseas this fiscal year, with the latest batch having left for Israel on Thursday.
The coronavirus hit Thai labour exports by a whopping 71% from March to December last year compared with figures for the same period in 2019, when 94,994 Thais landed jobs overseas.
Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin said on Thursday the ministry hoped to send 100,000 workers overseas in the current fiscal year, which officially began on Oct 1.
From October to December last year, 9,920 people went to work overseas.
The latest batch of 210 Thais flew to Israel yesterday on the Thailand-Israel Cooperation on the Placement of Workers (TIC) programme.
Mr Suchart said the labour export target was divided into two groups.
About 89,000 people were sent overseas by brokers or Thai employers for temporary jobs or training programmes, while the Labour Ministry found work for others in countries which signed labour export agreements with Thailand.
A further 11,000 people secured jobs in South Korea, Japan, Israel and Taiwan after employers in those countries arranged for the Department of Employment (DoE) to recruit the workers and send them to work there.
“The Covid-19 crisis has gripped the world and it has continued to depress the labour export volume since the onset of the pandemic in March last year,” the minister said.
Mr Suchart said the DoE had secured work for Thais in various countries, particular in the farm sector.
DoE director-general Suchat Pornchaiwiseskul released labour export figures which confirmed a virus-induced nosedive last year.
Thailand exported 114,003 to work overseas in the 2016 fiscal year, 114,958 in 2017, 115,554 in 2018, 114,656 in 2019 and 58,673 last year.