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Immigration official says visa amnesty extension “is unlikely”

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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. 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. Dave

    Friday, July 10, 2020 at 8:00 pm

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

  3. 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. 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. 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!

    • 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”).

    • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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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