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Immigration official says visa amnesty extension “is unlikely”

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Immigration official says visa amnesty extension “is unlikely” | Thaiger

As the deadline for the visa amnesty draws closer, conflicting whispers are emerging from Immigration offices around the country.

The Thaiger is privy to a discussion with an Immigration officer this morning where an extension was said to be likely, for 1 month beyond July 31. But just this afternoon Khaosod English has published a contrary story saying that an extension of the visa amnesty for foreigners “is unlikely”.

The amnesty, extended back in April, will expire at the end of this month (July 31).

Immigration spokesperson Col. Phakkhaphong Saiubon is quoted as saying that there’s a need to “clear out people” as the situation of global pandemic “starts to wind down”. The spokesperson’s reading of the international Covid-19 situation appears to ignore the latest figures which indicate an acceleration of the global infection numbers and recently “low risk” areas firing up with “second waves” of infections.

The government issued a general amnesty which gave automatic extensions of stays earlier this year, and then extended again in April, after crowds of foreigners were queueing up at immigration offices around the country. The amnesty allowed foreigners whose visas expired between March 26 to July 31 to stay in the Kingdom without applying in person for an extension at immigration offices.

“There most likely will not be an extension. It’s all quiet on that front. It’s been a long time and we need to clear out people. Thailand and the Thai government are already generous. No other country has this long of a visa amnesty (another false assertion).”

If there is no extension to the visa amnesty after July 31, overstay fines as well as the 90 day report requirements will likely resume unless other measures are put into place before that date.

The spokesperson also warned foreigners “who plan to continue staying in Thailand are advised to renew their visas and 90 day reports before then”.

“I recommend you do it within this month.”

The bottomline, without any news of an extension to the amnesty, is that foreigners, whose visas have expired, should apply to extend their visa or, if they are unable to, contact their Embassy for a letter explaining the reasons they are unable to leave the Kingdom.

“It also depends on the flights available for you. But if your embassy won’t issue a letter for you, then you may have to leave since there’s not much we can do.”

Before the visa amnesty was granted, immigration officials required as many as nine separate documents for foreigners to extend their stay for up to 30 days. They include land deeds, rent contracts, and even selfies of foreigners with their accommodations.

SOURCE: Khoasod English

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Tim Houston

    Friday, July 10, 2020 at 4:37 pm

    Yeah Thailand doesn’t need money from foreigners right now, let them go back to their country. I am sure you will do great without us Thailand !

  2. Avatar

    Dave

    Friday, July 10, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    Amnesty should be exstended The Thai government are the ones who closed the borders.

  3. Avatar

    Jonas Schmidt

    Friday, July 10, 2020 at 11:06 pm

    Many expats have lost their jobs and have been in the country since February. The situation in many countries is not looking too well either with new hotspots and high infection rates unlike Thailand. I hope the Thai government takes into consideration in allowing expats to extend their stay beyond July 31 and avoiding them returning to high risk countries. That would certainly be a compassionate step by the government with the current global outlook.

  4. Avatar

    sam thompson

    Friday, July 10, 2020 at 11:25 pm

    Yes, why show any flexibility, understanding or compassion….after all it’s only a worldwide pandemic and international crisis, the likes of which we have never seen before

  5. Avatar

    Terry Williams

    Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 7:13 am

    Col. Phakkhaphong Saiubon is quoted as saying that there’s a need to “clear out people” – says it all!

    • Avatar

      Osi

      Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 11:02 am

      Yes, it is indeed a racist saying; just like “where are you from” (to which I reply “I don’t know what you mean”).

    • Avatar

      kraxlhoover

      Tuesday, July 21, 2020 at 5:23 pm

      YES there is a need to clear Thai people out of Thailand. They abused/ misused their land, not worth to enjoy the beautiful land. IMNSHO ( in my not so humble opinion, Thais are bad people. Generally speaking, I am her for over 40 years and have seen Pigs fly. Farang Dong, means pickled foreigners

  6. Avatar

    Steve

    Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 8:19 am

    My God, the negative comments here by foreigners! Foreigners have already received a visa extension of four months beginning in March. Instead of criticizing Thai officials, the least they could do is show some gratitude.

  7. Avatar

    Les

    Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 9:23 am

    The Thai government didn’t close its borders to me returning to Japan (where I hold a 5-year work visa), the Japanese government did–despite the fact that there have been no new domestic case of COVID-19 in Thailand for30+ days. I am grateful to the Thai government for the visa amnesty. I am not so grateful to Japsn!

  8. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 9:50 am

    So the Thais want to clear people out – foreigners.
    Well open the land borders.
    Allow flights out!
    The stupid Thais think foreigners don’t want to go.
    They think Thailand is so great. Stupid people.
    Allow the foreigners out and watch some be trampled in the rush.

  9. Avatar

    Richard

    Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    They should give a definite answer to another visa extension so foreigners can try to book flights. I will never return to Thailand & I have been here many times. Looks like I will be going back to America where cases are picking…

  10. Avatar

    Torben Retboll

    Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 2:44 pm

    The words “another false assertion” were not spoken by the immigration officer.

    They are a comment made by the author of the story.

    These words should not be inside his statement. They should be posted after his statement.

  11. Avatar

    Lucien Leeuwen

    Monday, July 13, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    According to your later report, the Thai government has put aside its project of tourist travel bubbles. In the best case, the number of bubble tourists would be limited by the number of Covid-19 tests that can be processed daily and the various checking procedures needed for those tourists.

    At the same time, tourism makes up about 15% of the Thai economy and there is talk of 2 million people losing their jobs in the Thai tourism industry alone.

    In that situation, apart from the unfortunate vocabulary, the report that foreigners here on short term visa may be kicked out on July 31 looks truly bizarre only from the point of view of simple economic rationality.

    According to your website, about 10,000 foreigners on short-term visas have remained in Thailand under the present visa amnesty effective until July 31.

    The closing of the Thai borders means that those foreigners have been here for 3 months or more. Regarding the virus they are as safe as any Thai person.

    If the Thai government wants to compensate for the losses of the tourism industry, it would be very simple only to let those foreigners stay longer and continue to spend their foreign money inside Thailand. There is no virus risk and no complication needed.

    Supposing that those foreigners spend each 50,000 baht per month in average -some more, some less- that means about 500,000,000 baht per month of foreign money spent in Thailand.

    Should we then believe that the same government that spends a lot of time and money to set up complicated and risky procedures to recover part of the tourism losses, will not simply allow the healthy and financially able visitors already in Thailand and thus throw away the 500 million baht per month that those foreigners spend in Thailand, in a year when Thai GDP is forecast to fall at least 8%?

    Some countries where the part of tourism in GDP is comparable to Thailand have understood how to deal with the limitations that the epidemic has placed on tourism. Due to the exceptional circumstances they offered to foreigners to stay for up to a year as tourists.

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Expats

Thailand looks at proposal to make it easier for expats and long-termers

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Thailand looks at proposal to make it easier for expats and long-termers | Thaiger

Thailand is looking to make it easier for expats and long-term visa holders to stay in the country. The Immigration Bureau is hoping to boost investments and the economy once the pandemic is over. The proposed changes could do away with 90 day reporting requirements which have been well-received by expats.

Recently, the online website to report 90 day check-ins has been down, citing maintenance issues. Hotel staff have also been dealing with the TM-30 reporting system being down. Chayotid Kridakorn, a former head of JP Morgan Securities Thailand, told the Bangkok Post that immigration hoops are a key pain point for foreigners working in Thailand.

“We want to make it easier for foreigners to live and work in Thailand.”

Meanwhile, plans to help Thailand recover economically have been detailed in a framework to be proposed to the government’s economic panel in the next month. Improvements to immigration regulations, work permits for foreign experts, and visa applications are on the framework list. Relaxing location reporting requirements for foreign workers which is done through the 90 day reporting, is also slated to be amended.

The framework also will include inducements for foreign investors such as corporate income-tax cuts, relaxed property-holding rules and incentives for retirees and start-up companies. An adviser to Thailand’s Deputy PM, says he aims to bring in 1 million retirees or pensioners over the next few years. He says expats could collectively contribute as much as 1.2 trillion baht to the economy each year. But Thailand’s gross domestic product growth won’t return to pre-Covid levels until the 3rd quarter of 2022, according to the Bank of Thailand.

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Expats

Proposals to get rid of 90 day reporting and ease investment rules in Thailand

Tim Newton

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Proposals to get rid of 90 day reporting and ease investment rules in Thailand | Thaiger

In amongst a sea of bad new over the past week, a glimmer of hope for expats and long-stay travellers. You better sit down…

The Thai government are looking into changing the long standing 90 day reporting for people staying in Thailand longer than 90 days on a long-stay visa. But don’t get out the champagne just yet.

For the last few decades any foreigner staying in Thailand for more than 90 days had to report to Thai Immigration about their current whereabouts. Immigration officials added an online alternative a few years ago but its reliability has been patchy.

As far as The Thaiger can tell, the online reporting has been down for at least 3 months. (Comment below if you’ve had a different experience)

The Bangkok Post reports that the changes form part of a strategy “to boost investment and tourism revenue”.

For hotels that have had to report the arrival and location of any foreign arrivals, the equally unpopular TM30 form, the online posting of this information has also been equally patchy over the last few months (many hotels simply don’t bother – it’s up to YOU to insist they check you in with the Immigration system).

Though there has been no official announcement made at this stage, the desperation for visitors and tourist, that used to fuel up to 20% of Thailand’s annual GDP, is forcing all departments to look at relaxing earlier draconian or outdated paperwork in favour of encouraging more arrivals, during the Covid-era or or after.

Immigration officials have often cited the need to track transnational crime as the reason to maintain its strict, and often inconvenient, rules – 90 day reporting, TM30s and TM 28s.

But none of this has reached beyond proposal stage at the moment but, according to the head of a government taskforce investigating the proposals at the moment, there will never be a better time to bring Thailand’s immigration and investment rules into the 21st century.

Chayotid Kridakorn, a former head of JP Morgan Securities, in now leading a Thai government economic panel to recommend changes that will make it easier for investors and travellers to enter into, and stay, in Thailand, according to Bangkok Post.

Even on their most optimistic guesses, the Bank of Thailand says GDP is unlikely to return to pre-Civd levels until Q3, this year. Many pundits would say this is optimistic, indeed.

Other groups to fall between the immigration cracks, up to now, have included the digital nomads – people who want to work remotely, anywhere, anytime. Their creed is ‘have laptop and wifi – can work’. Most digital nomads have used various visas, and border hops, to keep living and working in Thailand. Under current rules, their work has been, strictly, illegal and a specific visa wold allow the Thai government to better control this huge resource and tax them more effectively.

Mr Chayotid says that Thailand doesn’t “want to be left behind and die with old technology”.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Privatising Covid vaccines – Thai government gives private hospitals the go-ahead to buy vaccines

Tim Newton

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Privatising Covid vaccines – Thai government gives private hospitals the go-ahead to buy vaccines | Thaiger

“About 10,000 people are being vaccinated around Thailand, on average, with 14,000 people being vaccinated each day in Phuket.”

Private hospitals and institutions have been given the official go-ahead to purchase up to 10 million doses of approved Covid-19 vaccines. The purchases will be in addition to what the Thai government is also doing. The major sticking point, despite the approval, however, continues to be the world supply shortage of vaccines, with demand far outstripping current supply.

The CCSA’s Dr. Taweesilp Visanuyothin announced that the Thai PM had approved the privatisation of vaccines but maintained that the roll out of free vaccines for Thais and people at risk would continue at full pace. The Thai government have been fending off accusations that it was blocking the acquisition of vaccines by private companies and hospitals. The 10 million doses approved for private purchases actually allows about 5 million vaccinated people with most of the approved vaccines needing 2 doses.

The spokesperson explained that the Thai government needs to have 40 million Thais vaccinated before they would be able to claim any scientific level of herd immunity. The public health minister said that around 10,000 people per day are being vaccinated around the country, on average. About 350,000 doses have arrived in Thailand and 1.5 million more doses are awaiting delivery for this month, according to the Thai PM.

The order allows the private sector to use a letter of approval from the Thai government to purchase its own supplies separately. Or, alternatively, to purchase directly from the government and resell to customers.

The government’s current order for vaccines is enough for around 35 million people with a local supplier, manufacturing the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine under license, from June this year.

Dr Taweesilp also urged private companies to target and purchase vaccines from manufacturers other than the vaccine companies the Thai government were already dealing with.

The following vaccines are currently approved in Thailand…

  • AZD1222 by AstraZeneca/Oxford University (2 doses)
  • ARS-CoV-2 (CoronaVac) by Sinovac (2 doses)
  • NT162b2/CORMIRNATY – Tozinameran by Pfizer/BioNTech (2 doses)
  • Covishield (ChAdOx1_nCoV19) by the Serum Institute of India (2 doses)
  • Ad26.COV2.S by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (Single dose)
  • mRNA-1273 by Moderna (2 doses)

There are also current applications pending from other vaccine producers which will likely be approved in coming weeks.

Many expats have been chasing information about when they could expect to be vaccinated. Despite some promises from the government there has been little concrete information about formalities to register for vaccination at this stage. Meanwhile many expats have indicated they were prepared to pay for their vaccination but were unable to get clarification from private hospitals about when that may be available.

In Phuket the provincial government has promised ALL registered residents, local or foreign, that they would be eligible for government-funded vaccination. There has been a flurry of activity on the island over the past 2 weeks since the ‘Sandbox’ proposal was approved, in principal, for a July re-opening of quarantine-free tourism to vaccinated travellers. There has been queues and waiting lists at the island’s public hospitals every day for the past week. Currently some 14,000 people are being vaccinated every day, on average.

Meanwhile, the events of the past few days – the closure of entertainment venues and bars in 41 provinces, including all the main tourist areas – will force the government to re-consider any scheduled plans to re-open borders and reduction of quarantine times. Travellers are still allowed to visit Thailand, under new guidelines introduced on April 1, 2021.

What you currently need to enter Thailand…

  • Vaccine certificate, either a print out or the original document (or vaccinated travellers)
  • Certificate of Entry issued by the Royal Thai Embassy in your country
  • Covid-19 health insurance with a minimum coverage of US$100,000
  • Booking confirmation for an Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) hotel
  • Negative Covid-19 test issued no more than 72 hours before departure

Anyone considering travelling to Thailand at this time is recommended to check with the Thai embassy in their country first, before making bookings of ASQ hotels or flights.

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