Thailand cracks down on migrant labor; workers flee the country

Thousands of undocumented workers are leaving Thailand.

Thailand passed the Decree on the Management of Foreign Workers Act on June 17. The bill imposes heavy fines on businesses with illegal laborers.

Faced with major finds and strict enforcement, many businesses are firing undocumented workers.

Thousands of illegal migrants are fleeing to Burma and Cambodia.

Thailand depends on foreign labor. Many of the nation’s industries, including its multibillion-dollar seafood industry, depend on manual labor and most of those workers come from Thailand’s poorer neighbors, like Cambodia and Burma.

The government’s goal is not to drive out the foreign workers. The priority is to get to foreign workers registered.

Businesses are working to get work permits for whichever workers they can.