The Labor Ministers of Thailand and Saudi Arabia have signed an agreement on the export of Thai labor that includes provisions for safe working conditions in the Gulf state.
Thai Labor Minister Suchart Chomklin met with Saudi Human Resources and Social Development (HRSD) Minister Ahmad Sulaiman Al Rajhi on Monday (28 Mar) to attend the signing ceremony in Riyadh.
The ceremony was seen as another significant step toward fully re-establishing ties between the two nations after the relationship turned sour three decades ago. The agreement is believed to also include labor protections consistent with international standards.
Thailand is also seeking assistance from Saudi Arabia to ensure employer and employee rights are respected while enforcing regulations to ensure fair payments, welfare, privileges, and cooperation over human trafficking issues.
Thai workers will initially be sent through state-to-state cooperation to minimize broker costs. The Ministry of Labor will assist in training individuals interested in working in Saudi Arabia, while the HRSD will be responsible for regulating workers’ qualifications, pay, privileges, and other requirements.
Saudi Arabia said it will roll out measures to help maintain the quality of life and welfare of foreign migrant workers, including an electronic-contract program for rights protection and a labor mobility initiative to assist workers in the hospitality, health, and industrial sectors.
There are currently 1,334 Thai employees in Saudi Arabia, the majority of whom work in factories and restaurants or as domestic workers.