Thailand is asking Libya to cancel its exit visa regulations to facilitate the evacuation of Thais from the country, South Asia Department's director general Manopchai Vongphakdi said Wednesday.
He was speaking in his role as chief of the operation centre set up to handle the evacuation.
“The Thai Embassy in Libya has asked the Libyan authorities to facilitate the exit of Thais. If they agree to waive the exit visa, the evacuation of the Thais will be faster,” he said.
Thailand has decided to evacuate all Thais in the wartorn country and bring them back home following high numbers of deaths and casualties in the current fierce fighting between armed groups.
A team of foreign affairs and labour officials and military doctors is scheduled to leave for Tunisia today to set up temporary offices in Tunis and Djerba to facilitate the evacuation.
Many countries including the United States, India and Canada are also evacuating their nationals.
Manopchai said Tunisia was to set up a special centre at its border to deal with the influx of evacuees.
The first group of Thais to be evacuated will consist of 11 Thai students from the Libyan capital of Tripoli, which is considered the most dangerous area. They will travel to Tunisia by land before boarding a commercial flight to Thailand from Tunis.
The evacuation plan is different from a similar planned exodus in 2011 where evacuees left Libya by sea, Manopchai said. At that time, there were large numbers of Thai and foreign workers and the mission was urgent.
This time, the evacuation involves some 1,500 Thai workers from different parts of Libya, so it will take time.
Manopchai said the Labour Ministry would help follow up compensation for the Thai workers in accordance with the relevant Labour laws.
He invited families and relatives of the workers waiting more information to call the centre at (02) 643 5259 and (02) 644 7255 or fax (02) 643 5522.