A new Danish tour company whose employees have been arrested for working illegally is asking for help from authorities, claiming it pumps vast sums of money into the Phuket economy.
Scanway Tyrkiet Eksperten says it will bring 8,000 Scandinavians on Aurela Airlines charter flights to the island this high season.
Assuming each tourist spends 40,000 baht, that amounts to a 320-million-baht injection into the local economy, the company maintains.
Yet Scanway Tyrkiet Eksperten’s Phuket-based staff are now unable to work and are awaiting court dates for violating Thai labor law.
Immigration Police on December 28 raided the company’s offices at the Royal Crown Hotel in Patong, finding eight Danes working there – none with work permits.
The company had already applied for permits for five workers, though none had been issued at the time of the raid.
The problem is that according to Thai law, a company must have registered capital of two million baht for each work permit application. Scanway Tyrkiet Eksperte has registered capital of four million baht.
Tan Chee Kiong, vice president of the Thai Hotels Association (Southern Chapter), on Tuesday morning went to Phuket Vice Governor Tri Augkaradacha to plead the company’s case.
Vice Governor Tri was sympathetic to the company’s plight, but insisted no special favors could be done.
“The company needs two million baht registered capital for every alien worker. It has four million already, so it will have to register another six million if it wants five workers,” he said.
“For those people who’ve been arrested we will co-ordinate with Immigration and the court to help them,” he said. “But they will have to pay fines, the amounts of which will be up to the court.”
“So far we’ve never had a problem with work permits since charter flights started coming to Phuket,” he said.
“This is the first time it’s happened. But we don’t want to create problems for tourism, so we’ll make things as convenient for them as we can,” he said.