The re-establishing of Thai-Saudi relations after a 30-year stand by has paved the way for bilateral discussions over many areas, including diplomacy, economy, and labour. The Ministry of Labor is currently drafting an employment agreement under the memorandum of understanding (MOU) system to facilitate the first wave of Thai workers to Saudi Arabia three months from now.
Relations between the two countries were established in 1957 and hundreds of thousands of Thais went to Saudi Arabia to work. The historically friendly and strategic partnership between Saudi Arabia and Thailand has deteriorated significantly following the Blue Diamond affair.
The Blue Diamond Affair was a series of events triggered by the 1989 theft of gems belonging to the Saudi Royal Family by a Thai employee.
Labor Ministry Permanent Secretary Boonchob Suthamanaswong said Thais heading to Saudi Arabia for work may only number in the hundreds initially, but this trend is expected to continually rise. He added that wages will range from 25,000 to 100,000 baht per month, with workers in the initial phase to comprise those in the construction industry as well as medical and tourism services — all of which are in high demand in Saudi Arabia.
Thai Overseas Manpower Association Chairperson Aranya Sakulkosol expressed her thanks to the government and the prime minister for successfully restoring relations between Thailand and Saudi Arabia. She added that the development will usher in a golden opportunity for Thai workers who will be able to generate more income for the nation by working abroad. She added that preparations are being made to provide professional training for workers to prepare them for when Saudi Arabia officially approves their entry.
People interested in working in Saudi Arabia can get additional details at the website of the Department of Employment, or by making direct inquiries at their provincial employment office. Authorities meanwhile stress that the process is still in the discussions phase and people should avoid falling victim to employment scams currently circulating.