Migrant workers in Thailand who could not return to their home countries because of the COVID-19 lockdown have lost jobs and suffered financial hardship during the pandemic, but could soon see their outlook improve as the country starts to reopen.
Thailand has long been a regional magnet for millions of migrants who come from Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and other neighboring countries to find work. But the public health crises, combined with its economic ripple effects and coronavirus-related movement restrictions have battered key Thai industries that employ many foreign workers since the first coronavirus case was detected here in mid-January, according to migrants and labor rights advocates.
Now, prospects for laid off migrants returning to work could brighten because Thailand this past week began to loosen restrictions and allow businesses start up again gradually, and is to ease more restrictions on them later this month, officials said.
“By May 17, unless anything causes a change, we will implement a second phase of restrictions easing in crowded big business areas. So we seek your cooperation for now to not add to infection numbers,” Dr. Taweesilp Wissanuyothin, spokesman for Thailand’s COVID-19 taskforce, told reporters on Thursday.