BANGKOK — A new set of harsher punishments for foreigners who work illegally is necessary in the name of protecting the “lives and property of Thai people,” a Labor Ministry spokesman said Wednesday
The revised labor law, which came into effect Friday, prescribes tougher jail terms and fines for both foreign employees and their Thai employers who violate visa and work permit regulations. The same law also added more severe punishment for those engaged in human trafficking.
“This new law will be applied to foreigners of all nationalities, not just the three neighboring countries,” spokesman Ananchai Uthaipatanacheep said by phone. “Whether you are from Vietnam or Russia, if you do something wrong, you will get the tougher punishment.”
Foreigners caught working in Thailand without a work permit face a maximum jail terms of five years and fines up to 100,000 baht. Foreigners who are employed in occupations other than what’s registered on their work permit risk fines up to 100,000 baht, five times as much as previously.
Meanwhile, employers convicted of hiring foreigners without proper registration face a maximum fine of 800,000 baht per worker, or eight times the previous fine of 100,000 baht.
Ananchai said the harsher penalties will weed out foreigners who live or work in Thailand without registering with the authorities, which can threaten the “safety and lives and property of Thai people.”
The spokesman said expats who have valid visas and work permits need not worry.
“If you enter the kingdom legally, and if you possess the proper passports, visas and work permits, I can guarantee you that this new law won’t affect you,” he said.