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Thailand extends foreign-worker scheme until end of 2012

Publication Date : 26-05-2012


The Board of Investment (BOI) of Thailand yesterday agreed to extend until the end of this year the period in which 101 companies may employ foreign labourers, in an effort to alleviate a shortage of workers in the country.

Under the existing agreement, companies participating in the BOI promotion are required to end their employment of foreign workers by the end of this month. About 9,000 foreign labourers work for local companies under the scheme.

Industry Minister Pongsvas Svasti said Thailand faced a serious labour shortage, so the BOI needed to relax the regulations temporarily to allow employment of foreign workers to support industry growth and help enterprises recover from last year's floods.

To support Thai workers in the long run, the BOI plans to draft a plan to encourage employers to fund skill-development programmes for local labourers.

The board will also gradually review economic conditions, the unemployment rate in Thailand and the social impacts after allowing employment of foreign workers to ensure minimum impact on Thai society.

In addition, the board yesterday agreed to a plan to allow the establishment of plants to recycle metal filings, known as electric arc furnace dust (EAFD), to eliminate these hazardous residues from industrial production.

The details of the investment promotion for the new plants will be finalised next month. So far, four companies, including one Thai firm, have asked for the BOI's approval for setting up EAFD recycling plants in Thailand. However, the BOI said it would only allow two plants to be set up in the Kingdom, as the amount of metal dust was limited.

Thailand produces about 100,000 tonnes of metal dust a year. Each plant will have a capacity to use about 30,000-200,000 tonnes of metal dust for corrugation production annually.

According to BOI data, 13 projects with combined investment value of 48.13 billion baht (US$1.5 billion) were approved by the board this month.

Of that amount, 2.25 billion baht ($71.08 million) worth were at the Rojana Industrial Estate in Ayutthaya, which was hit by floods last year. The funds will be used to expand the estate by an additional 1,770 rai (283 hectares).


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