Thailand’s Labour Ministry is seeking to reduce visa fees for Vietnamese workers to tackle a labour shortage in the country, media reports said Saturday.
The ministry planned to submit the request to the cabinet Tuesday for an approval of a visa fee reduction from 2,000 baht (55.80 dollars) to 500 baht.
The new rate will be in line with one that applies to workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia that account for nearly 90 per cent of all foreign labour in Thailand.
Thailand is facing the shortage of labour in the industrial sector as the country’s population ages, according to the director of the Office of Industrial Economics.
The industrial sector, with over 6 million people in its workforce, relies on 770,000 migrant workers but is currently facing a shortage of 34,000 people, according to Siriruj Julkarat.
In five years the shortage in the industrial sector will increase to 380,000 people, he told the Matichon newspaper.
More than 1.3 million migrant workers are employed in the country that has the second-highest daily minimum wage in the region at 8.8 US dollars, after Singapore.
But the number may be closer to 3 million if the undocumented workers are included.
Illegal migrant workers usually enter the country on tourist visas and overstay the 30-day visas without registering for 1-year work visas.
Thailand has one of the world’s lowest unemployment rates, with less than 1 per cent of the population being unemployed.
It is due to a low birth rate, lack of unemployment insurance and the availability of work in the agricultural sector or the informal sector, such as vendors or freelancers.