Written by Mekong Institute

In the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), Thailand is a major receiving country of Migrant Domestic Workers (MDW) from neighboring countries. This study aims to examine the employment situation for MDW in Thailand and compare it with an international standard, the International Labor Organisation (ILO) C189 Domestic Workers Convention framework, as well as to compare MDW management and regulations with Hong Kong and Singapore in order to capture any lessons learned for Thailand.

This paper focuses on three main acts related to MDW management: the Immigration Act B.E. 2522 (1979), the Labor Protection Act B.E. 2541 (1998), and the Working of Alien Act B.E. 2551 (2008) to compare with ILO C189 and the regulations in Hong Kong and Singapore. The research found that while Thai regulations meet the basic criteria of fundamental international legal rights, there is a weakness in the domestic regulatory framework, and a lack of the efficiency necessary to coherently manage the situation.

Data  from  the  research  survey  found  that  the  majority  of  MDW  in  Thailand  are  female migrants from Myanmar. Employers expressed the necessity to hire MDW because they are unable  to  find  Thai domestic  workers  at  an  affordable price.  In  addition  to  the  scarcity  of Thai  domestic  workers, MDW  from  Myanmar  are  seen  to  be  more  hard-working  than  their Thai  counterparts.  This  research  also  found  that  the  status  of  most  MDW  allowed  them  to stay in the Kingdom, but less than half of them have a formal Work Permit (WP). Using the Likert scale to survey the employers qualification requirements for MDW, it was found that the factors holding the most influence over the decision to hire MDW are housekeeping skills and secondly the legal status of MDW.

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