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Immigration looks to enforce life ban for overstays within weeks

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Immigration looks to enforce life ban for overstays within weeks | Thaiger

PHUKET: New penalties that will lead to some foreigners caught overstaying their permits-to-stay being blacklisted from re-entering Thailand for life may be introduced before the end of the month.

The news follows reports of a new form, titled “The Acknowledgment of Penalties for Visa Overstay”, being distributed to all immigration checkpoints throughout the country.

The new proposed penalties are listed on the form as follows:

In the case that the alien surrenders themselves:
Overstay more than 90 days – forbidden from re-entering the kingdom for 1 year
Overstay more than 1 year – forbidden from re-entering the kingdom for 3 years
Overstay more than 3 years – forbidden from re-entering the kingdom for 5 years
Overstay more than 5 years – forbidden from re-entering the kingdom for 10 years
Overstay more than 10 years – forbidden from re-entering the kingdom for life

In the case that the alien is being apprehended:
Overstay for less than 1 year – forbidden from re-entering the kingdom for 5 years
Overstay for more than 1 year – forbidden from re-entering the kingdom for 10 years

However, the penalties are not yet in effect.

The Immigration Bureau’s Acting Commissioner, Lt Gen Sakda Chuenpakdee, has submitted this proposal to the Ministry of Interior for approval.

“The commencement date has yet to be set, but that will be done as soon as the proposal has been approved. However, it will not take long. It may come into effect this month,” Lt Gen Thatchai Pitaneelaboot, commander of Immigration Bureau’s Region 6 division, confirmed to the Phuket Gazette today.

If introduced, the form is to be signed by all foreigners entering the country. One copy will be kept by immigration officers, and another by the expat or tourist arriving in the Kingdom.

“Some foreigners have been ignoring our laws for a long time,” Gen Thatchai said. “Some even overstay more than 10 years. The maximum penalty for this is only a 20,000-baht fine [and forced deportation].

“It is time to stop. If you live in a country, you respect its rules.”

Gen Thatchai warned that he expected no right of appeal to be granted to foreigners caught committing overstays.

Lt Col Banphot Kittivira, Deputy Superintendent of the Immigration checkpoint at Sadao, on the Malaysian border, confirmed that his office received a copy of the new form.

“Although the form currently states that any foreigners caught overstaying by less than a year will be banned from re-entering the Kingdom for five years, please note that this will only apply to foreigners who overstay by more than 90 days,” he said.

“Any foreigners who overstay less than 90 days will be subjected to the normal 500-baht a day fine.”

Col Banphot, who just two weeks ago had to rein in overzealous officers enforcing cash requirements for foreigners entering the country (story here), confirmed that his office will wait for official approval before enforcing the new rules.

Phuket Immigration has also received a copy of the rules.

“All ports of entry and immigration offices in Thailand have received the new form,” Phuket Immigration chief Sunchai Chokkajaykij confirmed to the Gazette.

“These new rules will be very good. We fully support them. Good people are welcome to travel or work in Thailand, but people who break the law are not. These law-breakers must be punished.”

Col Sunchai explained that at this stage the form is to remain in Thai and English only.

“The Immigration Bureau is not considering adding other languages at the moment.”

Ranong Immigration Superintendent Aekkorn Butsababodin assured that though his office was ready to start enforcing the new rules, the current rules still applied.

The move to enforce sterner penalties for overstays comes ahead of a crackdown on foreigners entering Thailand on visa-exemption status set to launch on August 13 (story here).

The United States Embassy in Bangkok issued a notice yesterday warning American citizens of the visa-exemption crackdown.

The notice explained that US tourists travelling to Thailand are eligible to enter the Kingdom without a visa and stay for 30 days under the Thai visa-exemption policy, but only if they are able to show an onward/return ticket and possess a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond their date of entry into Thailand (story here).

However, the notice also warned, “If immigration officials perceive that individuals are entering Thailand to reside for an extended time or indefinitely, rather than seeking entry for tourism, such individuals may be denied re-entry.

“If so, they will be referred to a Royal Thai Embassy outside of Thailand to apply for a regular Thai visa before seeking to enter Thailand again.

“The US Embassy and Consulate are not able to intervene with Thai Immigration or the airlines regarding their regulations and policies on behalf of a US citizen who is denied re-entry.”

— Chutharat Plerin

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket requires Covid-19 vaccination or 72-hour test

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Phuket requires Covid-19 vaccination or 72-hour test | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Checkpoints in Phuket will only allow Covid-19 tested or vaccinated travellers in.

To help wrangle the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak in Phuket, strict controls for everyone entering the island go into effect today until the end of April. The provincial communicable disease committee approved the measures in an effort to stop the proliferation of Covid-19 in the province. The new regulations state that only people who have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine or have tested to be Coronavirus-free within 3 days of arrival, will be allowed to enter Phuket. Proper certification or documentation must be presented to verify this information – either a Covid-19 vaccination certificate or the results of a recent negative Covid-19 test.

Anyone attempting to enter Phuket without two jabs of the vaccine or a negative Covid-19 test within the last 72 hours will be charged 300 baht for a rapid antigen test at their port of entry. These tests generate results in about 15 minutes and then negative-tested visitors will be allowed to proceed. If a person receives the test and is diagnosed positive for Covid-19 they will be sent to medical facilities immediately for treatment.

All entrants to Phuket are also required to use the Mor Chana Covid-19 contact tracing app to check in and record their travel timelines. That mobile app is available at gophuget.com.

The new restrictions apply to local and foreign travellers except for people making deliveries that are not staying overnight. Those people will get a special certification from their companies to present at the checkpoint entrance to the island.

Phuket is now classified as a Red Zone province, one of 19 provinces throughout Thailand where infections are on the rise. 208 current Covid-19 infections were registered at the start of this week in Phuket.

In response to the increasing Covid-19 infections in Phuket, Surat Thani has made special restrictions for anyone travelling from Phuket to Surat Thani. Those people will be required to scan and register their trip through the “Save Surat” website before being quarantined for 14 days.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Those flying into Phuket face Covid tests from tomorrow

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Those flying into Phuket face Covid tests from tomorrow | Thaiger

Starting tomorrow, those who fly into Phuket International Airport will face a Covid-19 “Antigen Rapid Test” unless they have proof of being fully vaccinated or a previously negative Covid test within 72 hours of arriving. The Phuket Communicable Disease Committee announced the new rule last night, and will go through April 30. The measure also includes those coming from red zones. The test is 300 baht with travellers being required to foot the bill. Results are expected to take 15 minutes.

For those entering the province by road, only those from red zone provinces will be required to be tested. All arrivals must install the MorChana app, register their travel details through the www.gophuget.com web portal, and have their arrival and travel details reported to the Emergency Operations Center for the area where the traveller is staying. Those who are only transporting goods and don’t stay in Phuket overnight are exempt from the new rules. But, they must show a permission document.

The government is asking people to limit their travel, particularly to red zone provinces. Here’s a list of the red zone provinces.

1. Bangkok
2. Chiang Mai
3. Chon Buri
4. Samut Prakan
5. Prachuap Khiri Kan
6. Samut Sakhon
7. Pathum Thani
8. Nakhon Pathom
9. Phuket
10. Nakhon Ratchasima
11. Nonthaburi
12. Songkhla
13. Tak
14. Udon Thani
15. Suphanburi
16. Sa Kaeo
17. Rayong
18. Khon Kaen

You can expect other provinces to introduce similar restrictions over the next few days. We’ll keep you up to date on thethaiger.com

Phuket requires Covid paperwork to enter from red zone provinces from Wednesday (April 21) | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile, Phuket is receiving almost 100,000 Covid-19 Sinovac doses to administer second vaccine rounds to those who received their first jabs earlier this month. Thailand today, has recorded 1,443 new daily Covid-19 infections. 4 more deaths have also been recorded. 55 people are now on ventilators under state care. The government claims there are 1,000 ventilators available. 666,210 people in Thailand have now received at least 1 dose of a Covid vaccine. Only 2 of today’s reported cases were imported.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Almost 100,000 Sinovac doses delivered to Phuket for second round of jabs

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Almost 100,000 Sinovac doses delivered to Phuket for second round of jabs | Thaiger

Phuket is receiving almost 100,000 Covid-19 Sinovac doses to administer second vaccine rounds to those who received their first jabs earlier this month. 99,480 doses were delivered yesterday at Vachira Phuket Hospital in Phuket Town. 30,000 doses will be delivered to Thalang Hospital, 20,000 to Patong Hospital and 10,000 to Chalong Hospital. Vachira hospital’s director posted last night detailing the vaccines’ distribution, noting that Vachira will keep the rest in store.

The vaccine doses will help continue the mass-vaccination campaign which will continue until April 30. About 90,000 people and 9,000 medical and public health personnel are scheduled to receive their 2nd vaccine doses. 480 military, police, and frontline personnel are also on the list.

The Phuket Provincial Health Office has made a goal of inoculating 8,000-9,000 people per day, but many have criticised that number as being unachievable. Chalermpong says SMS services will be used to notify those of vaccine appointments.

The Phuket News reports that people who have already had their first injection but who have not received an SMS confirming the second vaccination appointment can check at the “Phuket Must Win” website. Chalermpong says if you cannot find your name, then you can visit the vaccination station and present your certificate to staff after 3pm each day.

Other provincial authorities joined in giving their advice with the PPHO chief reminding that even if you are vaccinated, you could still be infected, but the symptoms won’t be very bad. The Vice Governor also chimed in saying if you want the first injection, they are open for registration today. But if you want to be vaccinated in May you must have an appointment as authorities are trying to reduce congestion.

Meanwhile, Phuket’s plans to reopen by July to vaccinated tourists may be stalled due to the 3rd wave of Covid and a slower rollout of vaccine administration than previously planned. New restrictions from entering the province have also been announced. Currently, you’ll need either a certificate of proof that you’ve had both doses of an approved Covid-19 vaccine, a Covid-19-free certificate, not older than 72 hours, or you’ll have to do a Rapid Covid Test at a cost of 300 baht at the airport.

This situation will apply until at least the end of April. The downside of coming to Phuket at this time will be risking a positive Rapid Covid Test, if you don’t have the other paperwork, and ending up in a field hospital.

If you’re arriving in Phuket by road, through the Thachatchai road checkpoint at the top of the island, only travellers from the red zone provinces will be affected by the new restrictions. If you’re from an orange zone you’ll be able to enter without the paperwork, for now anyway.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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