The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) has indicated that Thailand is facing a shortage of about 700,000 laborers. It is urging the government to facilitate international human movement and pardon employers who previously hired illegal labor.
The FTI explained that production businesses, as well as the export and construction sectors, are being acutely affected by the shortage. It also said in a letter to the Ministry of Labor in February that the issue is expected to impact the tourism and services sectors – and eventually the Thai economy as a whole – if left unaddressed.
Many Thais are interested in labor-intensive work, leaving employers with no choice but to rely on migrant workers. There were previously more than 2 million foreign laborers in the country, but the COVID-19 pandemic saw that figure plummet by 500,000-600,000.
The FTI has recommended that authorities quickly sign memoranda of understanding to import labor from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. It has also advised officials to establish a program for migrant workers similar to the “Test & Go” scheme, in order to reduce or remove quarantine requirements.