Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin expects about 500,000 illegal migrant workers to be registered by the middle of February.
The minister said on Tuesday that registration started on Jan 15, and since then 190,000 illegal migrants had applied.
The special registration period for illegal Cambodian, Lao and Myanmar migrants is set to continue until Feb 13. The minister expected about 500,000 of them would grasp the opportunity to become legitimate.
The cabinet approved registration after Covid-19 spread rapidly among migrant workers over the past month.
Many illegal migrant workers were forced to leave their workplaces as employers feared prosecution, while at the same time health workers were trying to reach them at factories to conduct Covid-19 tests to control the disease.
Minister Suchart told Thai reporters that special registration also benefited 500 illegal migrant workers in custody at immigration police facilities.
They would be registered and have the right to work as labourers and helpers until Feb 13, 2023. Afterwards they would be repatriated, he said.
The minister also said that cabinet extended by six months the deadline for registered migrant workers to extend expired visas.
Top: Thousands of jobless migrant workers from Myanmar return home from Thailand during March last year. Photo: International Organization of Migration