The Ministry of Labor is focusing on developing foreign-language skills and providing logistics training for Thai workers, to prepare them for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
Permanent Secretary for Labor M.L. Puntarik Smiti said that the Ministry of Labor is arranging language training for workers in the form of both the traditional classroom and the online classroom. She stated that the Ministry has received a budget of 771.27 million baht for its ASEAN projects in the 2016 fiscal year.
The Department of Skill Development, under the Ministry of Labor, aims to develop labor skills for 1.2 million workers in preparation for AEC. The project will be carried out in cooperation with the private sector. The Department will also offer tax incentives for the private companies that provide intensive skill training for their employees.
It realizes that Thai workers wishing to work in other ASEAN countries need to be equipped with language skills, so that they will be able to compete with other workers in the region. Therefore, foreign-language skill training will be emphasized.
At present, around 14,000 Thai workers are working in ASEAN. Most of them work in Singapore, mainly as cooks and maintenance technicians, while a number work in Malaysia, mainly in maintenance services.
When AEC is launched, the number of foreign workers moving into Thailand for job opportunities is likely to be greater than that of Thai workers moving out for jobs overseas. Most of the foreign workers will come from neighboring countries, as Thailand offers higher wages, for the most part, than can be found in those countries.
The Permanent Secretary stressed the need to cope with labor mobility. Since there will be more foreign workers coming in, Thai workers must also adjust by increasing their capabilities. The Ministry of Labor will encourage Thai workers to improve their skill standards up to international levels.
When the ASEAN Community emerges, there will be greater mobility of skilled workers, who will be freer to move across national boundaries within the region. Professionals in eight fields will be able to work in the ASEAN country of their choice, under the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangements, if they meet qualification and work permit requirements in that country.
The eight fields include accountancy, engineering, surveying, architecture, nursing, medical services, dental services, and tourism.