Vietnamese can start working in Thailand in the next few months under a new labor pact being discussed by the two countries, which have struggled to find a good solution for illegal workers.
Nguyen Thanh Hoa, Vietnam’s deputy labor minister, said officials are discussing related matters including labor protection and wages.
"Vietnam is demanding that its workers receive as much as local workers, or around US$500 a month in remote areas, $1,000 in developed areas, and higher in big cities."
He said Thailand has a high labor demand in construction and fishery and employers can hire Vietnamese workers under two to three-year contracts.
Figures from the Association of Southeas Asian Nations (ASEAN) co-member state showed that between 50,000 and 100,000 Vietnamese, most of them from Vietnam's impoverished central region, are already working in Thailand illegally.
They paid unofficial brokers to help them enter Thailand as tourists and then find jobs there.
For the official channel to work, Hoa promised that there would be no red tape and workers would only have to pay a small fee.
Also, Thailand will be tightening their surveillance from now on and illegal Vietnamese workers will face heavy punishments if caught, he warned.
Hoa said officials are expecting to wrap up negotiations this month so that the labor export agreement can be signed in May or June during a Vietnamese prime minister's visit to Thailand.
Thailand's government in February issued a labor instruction for Vietnamese, encouraging those working illegally in construction, fishery and household services to register with the authorities to receive a one-year work permit.