Showing posts with label Visa rules. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Visa rules. Show all posts

Friday, 16 August 2019

You’ve read the social media, now watch the TM30 debate in #Bangkok

A panel of Thai and foreign experts and commentators came together yesterday to discuss the enforcement of immigration rules, government policies and concerns, and recent shifts in official procedures and attitudes. They attempted to clarify the TM30 reporting process, analyse its impact and discuss the future of this unpopular law. The speakers were…

• Pol. Maj. Gen. Patipat Suban Na Ayudhya, Commander of Immigration Division

• Pol. Maj. Teerapong Jaiareerob, Inspector of Sub-Division 2, Immigration Division 1

• Pol.Col. Thatchapong Sarawannangkul, Superintendent of Sub-Division 2, Immigration Division 1

• Penrurk Phetmani, immigration lawyer with Tilleke and Gibbins International

• Chris Larkin, director of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and a member of AustCham’s Advocacy subcommittee where he works on customs alliance and immigration issues

• Sebastian Brousseau, lawyer and managing director of Isaan Lawyers, specialist in immigration issues and leading member of advocacy group

• Richard Barrow, blogger and long-time Bangkok resident

Source - The Thaiger

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Thailand Intrusive Immigration Form

THAILAND’S Immigration Bureau now requires foreigners nationwide to provide extensive personal information. In the widely criticized ‘Foreign National Information Form’, foreigners are asked to provide bank account details, social media accounts, frequently visited places, and other details.
The form, which up until now was only used in certain areas, “is being rolled out nationwide”, reported ThaiVisa News on Wednesday.
The requirement applies to longer-stay visitors, including those filling out their 90-day report, visa extensions, or re-entry permits. Tourists will not be required to fill out the form at point of entry.
Last month, the Immigration Bureau’s crime suppression unit Deputy Commissioner Maj Gen Chachaval Vachirapaneegul told The Phuket News that it was “mandatory” for foreigners to fill out the form.
“If a foreigner doesn’t want to fill in their information by themselves, they will be questioned for our records anyway. If they don’t fill in the form, we will suspect their reason,” he said.
However, not all details are required, apparently, as Chachaval added that people would not be forced to include their social media accounts.
The Immigration Bureau’s reasoning behind the necessity of the form, despite an outcry from foreigners in Thailand, is due to the fact that “in the past, immigration lacked information about foreign nationals living in Thailand when problems happened. This updated information will help us catch foreigners faster,” said Chachaval. 
The form was first introduced back in April at the Immigration Division 1 office and the One-Stop Service Center at Chamchuri Square in Bangkok, followed by Phuket, and is now reportedly used in Samut Prakan and Jomtien.
 Among the information the form asks “aliens” to submit are:
  • Full name, date of birth, and passport number
  • Full names of father and mother
  • Full address and telephone numbers in home country
  • Full address and telephone numbers of residence and workplace in Thailand
  • Social media accounts and email address (optional)
  • Make of car/motorcycle, as well as its model, color, and license plate number
  • Frequently visited places such as clubs, restaurants, shops, hospital
  • Emergency contact details (one of Thai nationality and one of foreign nationality)
  • Bank account details such as bank, branch, account name and account number (only required for certain visas).
    Understandably, many foreigners are reluctant to share their private information with Thai authorities, as they have their doubts regarding how securely their details will be kept – it was only in March when a couple of online data leaks revealed foreigners’ sensitive information.
    But for those of you thinking of just winging it and putting in false information to stick it to the man, the form readily informs that those “providing false information to an officer shall be punished under [the] Penal Code”.
    Source: Asian Correspondent

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Thailand - EDITORIAL: Tracking you down... for safety!

Thai Immigration Pattaya / Chonburi
The new immigration form mandating foreign nationals disclose various personal details is intrusive, much like distrusting parents tracking their children’s smart-phones. Not only do authorities appear to lack subtlety and a clear understanding of how technology works, they also seem to lack the capacity to safely manage and protect the extensive data they are collecting.
 Thai Immigration Chiang Mai
 At best, they can hope to better “track down” foreigners when problems arise. Though such a move should surprise no one in this age of mass surveillance, perhaps what is hard to swallow for many foreign residents is the utter lack of subtlety – the perception that officials view all foreigners as potential criminals, and possible scapegoats in any legal unpleasantness that might arise.
 Bank account numbers will not give authorities access to your money. Knowing what websites you visit and where you hang out sounds more like an awkward first-date script.
 Thai Immigration Bangkok
 Your licence plate numbers should already be easily accessible for any functioning bureaucracy.
Your social media details are already on the internet – if you were worried about privacy, you should have read the fine print and never signed up to disclose your personal content on the internet in the first place.
At worst, the form may invoke fear amongst some alien denizens, who may or may not be deterred from committing any nefarious deeds for fear of being traced. Not exactly the most scientifically proven method of crime-prevention, but fairly standard for authoritarian states throughout time. Human Rights Watch also thinks the form “risks alienating foreign investors and tourists who play a major role in the Thai economy”... which is the standard response to xenophobic polices worldwide.
 Thai Immigration Phuket
What is not pointed out is that xenophobia is the foundation of all immigration policies that exist today, worldwide, and foreign investors already absorb it into their cost-benefit analysis. And as Thailand makes a rather endearing effort to catch up with the modern surveillance states, lives will
not change, nor will they be destroyed any more than usual.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Thailand: ‘Intrusive’ immigration form now mandatory for foreigners

IF you are planning to visit Thailand’s resort province of Phuket, you will now be required to furnish a host of personal information, including banking account and social media details to the nation’s Immigration bureau.
Otherwise, failure to submit applications when entering the province will result in consequences, a Immigration official has warned.
Immigration Bureau’s crime suppression unit Deputy Commissioner Maj Gen Chachaval Vachirapaneegul said the details to be filled in the “Foreign National Information Form”, released last Monday, was now a mandatory requirement.
“If a foreigner doesn’t want to fill in their information by themselves, they will be questioned for our records anyway. If they don’t fill in the form, we will suspect their reason,” Chachaval was quoted as saying in Phuket News.
SEE ALSO: Thailand asking foreigners for bank account, social media, and hangout details
Apart from social media and account details, the three-page form asks for foreigners’ contact numbers and email addresses, vehicle registration, and places frequented by the foreigner.
In the form, visitors were warned that: “Providing false information to an officer, shall be punishable under the Penal Code.”
According to the paper, the form covers most types of applications for foreigners.
“This form shall be used for making record of information of every alien entering and staying in the Kingdom of Thailand and shall be submit with Notification of residences for Aliens (section 37, 38 of Immigration Act, BE, 2522), or 90-days notification, or Extension of Stays (all purposes), or Re-entry Permits, or in all cases involving alien labors,” the header reads.
SEE ALSO: Thailand: Foreigners vexed by ‘intrusive’ immigration forms
However, Chachaval did not confirm whether failure to provide certain information would form a basis for applications to be rejected and clarified that the social media account details was optional. He said all other sections were mandatory.
“We will not force people to provide their social media details,” he said.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Banned: new rule comes into force prohibiting visa overstayers from re-entering Thailand

From March 20, new immigration rules will come into force that will BAN foreigners from re-entering Thailand if they overstay their visa by more than 90 days.

The new rule is part of tightened security measures, Thai PBS reported.

Foreigners who voluntarily come forward will face the following bans: if they overstay for more than 90 days they will be banned from re-entering the country for a year; overstays of more than a year will face a three-year ban; overstays of more than three years will face a five-year ban; and overstays of more than five years will face a ten-year ban.

Authorities warned that those who don't hand themselves in will be arrested and prosecuted, and face longer bans. If they overstay less than a year they will be banned for five years, and if they overstay for more than a year they will be banned for ten years.

Immigration officials will ask hotels, apartments, hostels and landlords renting homes or rooms to foreigners to report the stay of foreigners so they can keep a closer track of their stay in the country.

Source: Coconuts


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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Thailand - Police nab 110 foreigners in overstay, criminal cases

THE Immigration Police Bureau yesterday announced cases of foreigners caught for overstaying their visas and committing crimes.

Thai Immigration police paraded a group of offenders yesterday at a press conference as they announced they had arrested 50 Pakistani nationals, 15 Indians, eight Somalis, three Nigerians, three from Papua New Guinea, three Vietnamese, a Mali national, a Bangladeshi national, a Sri Lankan national and twenty-three other nationals.

Measures to clamp down on foreigners who overstay their visa will go into effect in March.
Those who overstay for more than a year will be barred from the country for three years, while those who overstay for more than five years will be banned for 10 years.

Authorities have encouraged offenders to turn themselves in and avoid heavier penalties.
Immigration Bureau chief Pol Lt-General Natthorn Praosunthorn said the measures were taken to increase security in Thailand, claiming many foreigners who overstay are likely to have also committed crimes.

He cited the case of American boxer Malik Naeem Watson-Smith, who once fought Thai boxer "Buakaw," and was caught overstaying his visa on 14 Dec. He had been charged with assault in 2010.
Russian Eveniy Gubarev, 37, was arrested on Dec. 17 for overstaying his visa and is wanted on charges of fraud and laundering money, while an unnamed 47-year-old Belgian was arrested on Sunday for overstaying by 305 days.

In a separate case, a French man overstaying his visa was arrested on Dec. 11 and charged with attempted murder, detention, and robbery in relation to trafficking drugs, The Nation reported.

  Eveniy Gubarev, 37, a Russian national, was arrested on December 17 for overstaying, and is also wanted on charges of fraud and laundering money.

An unnamed 47-year-old Belgian was arrested on December 20 for overstaying by 305 days. He arrived on January 20 and was allowed to stay until February 18.


Source: Coconuts & The Nation 

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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Thai visa run crackdown: Latest update from Thai/Cambo border

- No Out/In for any nationality along Thai/Cambodian border
- Phu Nam Ron, Kanchanaburi refusing to stamp anyone EVEN people with valid visas
- ‘Business as usual’ at Thai-Laos border

BANGKOK: -- Bomber Blame Game Sees Thailand Immigration Abruptly Change Visa Rules (Update #3)

 #Update #3 This story was updated at 11.45pm on Sept 15, 2015: As of 8.00pm Thailand-Cambodia border crossings at Ban Laem/ Daun Lem, Ban Pakard/ Phsa Prum, and Aranyaprathet/ Poipet were refusing to allow out-in or exit-entrance (border hop) visa exempt entries. Tourists able to show... (See details below)

Foreign workers and tourists who use the country’s visa exempt entry provisions are the unwitting victims in a high-stakes blame game being played out in the wake of the Erawan shrine bombing on August 17.
On Saturday morning Thailand border crossings along the Cambodia border, along with the Phu Nam Ron/ Htee Khee border crossing at Kanchanaburi crossing into Myanmar abruptly stopped allowing people to enter Thailand using the visa exempt entry method with some reportedly also not allowing people to depart and return (out-in border hop) to activate second- or multiple-entry visas of any class.

Thailand has six land crossing with Cambodia – Ban Pakard/ Phsa Prum, Ban Laem/ Daun Lem, Chong Sa Ngam/ Anlong Veng, Chong Jom/ O Smach, Hat Lek/ Ko Kong and Aranyaprathet/ Poipet – and all are said to be affected, with local variations as to who can enter and who can not.

The instructions are said to have been issued from “someone high up in the immigration department” according to one visa service company operator who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the need to work with Thailand immigration officials on a daily basis.

According to the visa service operator the affected Thailand-Cambodia and Thailand-Myanmar border crossing received the instructions by telephone late Friday afternoon.

“At the Ban Laem/ Daun Lem border they issued visa exempt entries up until 8am, but only for people who had four or less stamps. At 8am they stopped stamping anyone in, whether they had a valid visa or not, and about one hour after that it changed again; People with valid visas were allowed to enter, but no visa exempt entries”

No mention of the abrupt change in policy was posted on the Thailand Immigration Department website, the move catching hundreds of tourists by surprise.

Equally caught by surprise were the thousands of foreign expatriate retirees and others in Thailand who are required to exit and re-enter the country every 90-days, as well as those in the country on multiple-entry tourist, or business visas.

While visa service companies that cater for the out-in border hopper and tourists travelling overland into Thailand are the most visibly affected by this sudden change in policy, the unseen victims are the tens of thousands of Laotian and Vietnamese migrant workers who use the visa exempt entry method to stay long-term in Thailand, many of them working illegally.

Also affected are thousands of Filipino domestic workers and English-language teachers who also use the visa exempt entry provisions to stay for extended periods of time in Thailand.

According to the visa service agent “the number of tourists, long-stay expats and Filipinos who cross the border each day and come back using the visa exempt entry method is minuscule compared with the number of Vietnamese and Laotians who exit and reenter.

“These companies [who transport the migrant workers] don’t have websites, they don’t advertise and you will have never heard of them, but each day they take between 400 and 800 people to the Phu Nam Ron/ Htee Khee border crossing and another 400 to 800 to the Ban Pakard / Phsa Prum border crossing.

Almost all [foreign] workers leave it until the last possible time to do their visa run so as to get the maximum stay possible. This will cause many of them to be “overstay and now illegal”, he said

 Read more: ABCNews




Saturday, 23 August 2014

Coup leader calls for Immigration to relax ‘out-in’ visa clampdown.

Thailand’s coup leader and prime minister-in-waiting, Gen Prayuth Chan-Ocha last night (August 22) called for the Immigration crackdown on “out-in” tourist visas to be rolled back.

 During his weekly TV briefing to the nation, aired on all channels, the general said he had ordered the Immigration Police to be “more flexible” in its application of the law.

Immigration recently cracked down on the number of times a foreigner may cross the border into a neighboring country, turn around and re-enter the country on a new tourist visa.

Many of the people doing multiple out-in tourist visas were believed to be working in the country illegally, often as teachers or tour guides.

According to the English subtitles of his speech, the general said he was concerned that the clampdown – whereby people doing out-in visas are required to prove they are genuine tourists, or be barred from entry – was affecting schools and the tourist industry.

“This is an ongoing problem that needs to be resolved, as it can lead to a shortage of English teachers and guides,” he said.

The statement will shock many in the bureaucracy, on several levels. First, it is illegal to work while in Thailand on a tourist visa. Second, people working illegally pay no tax. And third, foreigners may not be guides in Thailand; that is a profession reserved for Thais only.

The crackdown was launched by the then-national commander of Thai Immigration, Lt Gen Pharnu Kerdlarpphon, who told The Phuket News on May 13, just nine days before the coup, that multiple out-in visa runs would no longer be tolerated. He has since been sidelined.

The question of foreigners working as tour guides has long been a troubled one. Although Thais alone may be tour guides, there are very few Thai guides who speak, for example, Korean or Russian, for which there is great demand. This fuels the number of people working illegally.

Even if Immigration now turn a blind eye to out-in visa runners, it will not solve the problems of unqualified foreigners teaching languages or foreign guides knowing nothing about the island’s history and making it up as they go along, leaving the tourists they instruct with a twisted understanding of Thai culture and history.

Thousands of foreigners in Phuket will be watching this issue with great interest.

Source:  Phuketnews