Following complaints by locals that foreigners were snatching their jobs, the Phuket Employment Office has revealed that 8,635 foreigners in the province currently have work permits - most of them from the United Kingdom and working in tourism.
Phuket Employment Office head Yaowapa Pibulpol explained that Phuket was a tourist city, hence its economy depended on hotels, resorts, accessory shops and restaurants.
Of the 8,635 foreigners with work permits, she said the British number highest with 1,169 persons, followed by 668 Filipinos, 646 Russians and 554 French citizens.
She said the foreign contingent comprised 2,559 managing directors, 2,452 committee chairpersons, 1,423 office workers, 644 teachers, 439 high-level executives, 182 trainees and 936 others.
In line with new government policy, the Phuket office was applying stricter criteria in issuing work permits, said Yaowapa.
Following locals’ complaints that foreigners, particularly Russians, were taking their jobs, police in January found 12 foreigners working in violation of the law. Several wee working without a permit, while others were working in professions or locations not covered by their permits. She said her officials had also publicised information that the foreigners were not permitted to work in certain professions, such as tour guide, masseur, or laundry person. Those caught violating these restrictions face a Bt5,000 fine.