An estimated 1 million legal and illegal migrant workers from Myanmar who have yet to apply for nationality verification ahead of the Dec 14 deadline could face deportation.Despite the large numbers, the Employment Department will close all national verification centres and deport migrant workers who fail to undergo the verification process by Dec 14.

It is estimated that 1 million Myanmar workers have not applied, prompting a request for a deadline extension by Myanmar labour officials.

Myanmar Deputy Labour Minister Myint Thein this week asked Thailand to extend the verification deadline for another six months to allow more Myanmar applicants to have their nationality verified.

Department director-general Prawit Khiangpol said the Labour Ministry has decided not to hold a new round of registration for foreign workers wanting to undergo the process.

The issue was raised during a meeting between labour officials from the two countries in Bangkok on Monday.

However, Thailand’s Labour Ministry could not agree to the request as its hands were tied by a cabinet resolution regarding nationality verification of foreign workers, Mr Prawit said.

The cabinet has extended verification procedures twice before, he added.

The verification process initially expired last year, but the ministry sought cabinet approval to extend the deadline to June 14 this year. It was later extended again to Dec 14.

Deputy labour minister Anusorn Kraiwatnussorn said legal migrant workers would receive the same 300-baht minimum daily wage as Thai workers when the nationwide wage increase comes into effect on Jan 1.

Any migrant workers wanting to work in Thailand must follow proper procedures, he insisted. Those who fail to undergo verification must return to their home countries.

If they want to work in Thailand again, they must enrol to work under an MoU on the sending of Myanmar workers to the kingdom, he said.

So far a total of 886,507 migrant workers have applied for the nationality verification process.